Sunday, 23 May 2021

Flintstones Weekend Comics, December 1964

Well, here it is December in Bedrock, and there’s no snow. In fact, there’s rain in one of the Sunday Flintstones comics in December 1964.

We get summer-time activities, too, including badminton and fishing. Plus Fred’s favourite sport, bowling.

The composition, as usual, is just great on these and the final panels are always a treat. They’re never crowded.

December 6th. Fine angles on Fred here. Betty makes an appearance. The opening panel's good, too, with Barney being rolled in mid-air by Bamm-Bamm, whose club is nearby on the ground.

December 13th. Again, the extra characters and props are a treat. I'm a sucker for volcanos. The "Game Reserve" panel has a silhouette car and dinosaurs in the background. Dig the angry creature at the end.

December 20th. A rocket-shaped Fred goes aloft when the pterodactyl grabs his fishing line. Love the fish.

December 27th. Gurp! And a swearing bird. And a sheepish Fred. All in the last panel. Admirable angle on the car in the opening panel. I think this may be Cathy's only appearance. I guess Fred's being cheap (as opposed to "cheep"), hence the egg-bowling ball.

Click on any of the comics to make them bigger.

Saturday, 8 May 2021

Doggie Daddy, Art Lover

Who would have guessed Doggie Daddy was a connoisseur of art? Well, he is in some cartoons.

Background artists whiled away the time by putting inside gags or other bits of inspiration in the paintings that appeared in cartoons. Judging by layouts for Tex Avery’s shorts at MGM, the background artists didn’t have total freedom. Objects would be crossed out on the layout drawing to allow the action to read better.

There are a few examples of modern art on the walls of the D. Daddy residence (one fun thing about the old Hanna-Barbera cartoons is the homes didn’t look the same from cartoon to cartoon. Even the Flintstones’ home varied in design).

These two are from Foxhound Hounded Fox. Background by Bob Gentle, layouts by Bob Givens. What's that first painting supposed to be? Crazy, man, crazy!

It's a shame the whole painting was never in the frame. This is from Snagglepuss, with the orange antagonist version before he got pink and theatrical and was given his own show. Background by Bob Gentle, layouts by Walt Clinton.

Skunk You Very Much, backgrounds by Fernando Montealegre, layouts by Dick Bickenbach. To be honest, I don't recall where I got the credits. This may be my favourite of the works. Dig the ‘60s bucket chair.

Big Top Pop, backgrounds by Joe Montell, layouts by Bob Givens. Incidentally, Givens wasn't a snob about these TV cartoons. He remarked he liked working on the Augie Doggie cartoons. I watched a few of them again recently, and I still like them.

Unfortunately, most of the background art is pretty prosaic. There are some scenes where nothing is in the picture frame. Here are some others from the first season.

Gone to the Ducks, backgrounds by Dick Thomas, layouts by Dick Bickenbach. Note the photo of Doggie Daddy in the picture frame? Or is it Doggie Daddy's daddy?

In Mars Little Precious, Doggie Daddy has hung some artwork near the ceiling of the living room. Backgrounds by Fernando Montealegre, layouts by Dick Bickenbach. I like Monty's exteriors in this one. This is the cartoon where the sound cutter uses Hecky Krasnow's "Swinging Ghosts" several times.

A Doggie family portrait is hanging by the phone in Hum Sweet Hum. Augie's room gets a boring tree. I'm not sure what that is behind Doggie Daddy in the living room, but he has the latest in pole lamps. We had one of these in the '60s, too. I don't know who did the backgrounds here; it may have been Bob Gentle. Ed Benedict is the layout artist.

It appears the pole lamp made it into the next season of cartoons.

Here's one of Art Lozzi's backgrounds. It's from Yuk-Yuk Duck, with layouts by Paul Sommer. I think it's a cupcake on a stand with a centipede on top. Well, you can come up with your own explanation.

We’ve mentioned here on the Yowp blog that the Augie Doggie cartoons were the last of the ones to be put in production on The Quick Draw McGraw Show. The father-and-son stars were partly based on the Spike and Tyke cartoons made by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera at MGM, with a little Sylvester, Jr. tossed in (the “science geek” part of Augie would be reused in Elroy Jetson). But the production team at H-B Enterprises were stymied on names for the two.

They were originally Pete and Repete (Variety, Jan. 8, 1959), but I suspect that was changed because the names were used for a pair of cartoon bears at Glacier National Park. Next, they were Arf and Arf (Variety, Jan. 28, 1959), about an impractical naming (“Oh, Arf!” “Yes, Arf?” Yeah, that’ll work in dialogue) as possible. When they got the final names, I don’t know.

You may not know that Augie Doggie was named for a relative of Mike Maltese, who wrote all the Augie cartoons. Margaret Wong has mentioned on Facebook that that Augie was the name of her mother’s brother, and that Mike was an uncle as well. H-B writer Tony Benedict recalls:

There is a lot of Mike in those characters. He often would say things in casual conversation that later came out of Augie's mouth on the show.
We don't know what kind of art Mike and Florrie Maltese had hanging in their home. We hope it included some of the characters he wrote for at Warners and Hanna-Barbera.

Sunday, 18 April 2021

Flintstones Weekend Comics, November 1964

Betty Rubble got the short shrift in the Flintstones newspaper comic strips, even more so than the beloved Baby Puss. The cat wasn't a regular character on TV, though (ending animation notwithstanding). Betty was. She makes a quick one-panel appearance on the November 8th comic, one of five that month in 1964.

That's a lovely collection of animals in the final panel of the first comic below. We get the cliche of the cheapskate husband as well. November 8th we get the cliche of the bad woman driver. Fred's an ingenious cheapskate on November 15th. A fine perspective drawing concludes the November 22nd (with a little Dino way below) and continues his ingenuity (which doesn't make him a fortune) on the 29th.

Click on any of the comics to make them bigger.

November 1st.

November 8th.

November 15th.

November 22nd.

November 29th.

Saturday, 3 April 2021


Mr. Jinks may have been better on commercials than he was in the TV cartoons.

Here are some frames for a 60-second Kellogg’s Raisin Bran spot. I’m glad the plot is self-explanatory because I can’t find the original commercial (I downloaded it last June). But the over-confident Jinks is called on to do a live commercial for those golden flakes of bran. As soon as the camera is on, he loses his place on the teleprompter run by the meeces and bollixes the whole thing.

There’s a portion where he pulls down a projector screen and live action takes over for a bit.

Jinks even sings part of the Kellogg’s jingle (assisted by the meeces, whom he’s told to speed up the prompter), then defeatedly says hello to the viewers once again at the end.

Someone more well-versed in the matter can tell you who animated this.

Sunday, 14 March 2021

Flintstones Weekend Comics, October 1964

Four comics this month. The blog has posted the last one before but this is the whole month's worth.

The layouts are excellent. October 4th features a silhouette panel, October 18th has a great target background and rain effects in the last few panels, and Dino sneaks in an appearance in the last two comics (does he have a doll's arm in his mouth on the 18th). Betty is absent again.

October 4, 1964.

October 11, 1964

October 18, 1964

October 25, 1964.

Saturday, 6 March 2021

Don Messick Helps Others

Don Messick was Hanna-Barbera’s first major supporting character actor. Except when Joe Barbera went on a kick of finding “different voices” in 1959 (hence the hiring of Doug Young and Elliot Field, Hal Smith and several others), Don M. seems to have been the go-to guy in almost every series for incidental and one-shot roles. Finally he became a star when a Great Dane series hit the CBS airwaves in 1969.

I only met Don Messick through my TV set and what I see in the papers, as Will Rogers would say, but he always strikes me as a pretty unruffled and helpful guy, unaffected by the pitfalls of egos and celebrity-ism that make some show-bizzers feel oh-so-superior. If you’ve never read Mark Evanier’s Messick memorial, go here. Even if you have, it’s excellent and worth reading again.

Don flew to Racine, Wisconsin in 1990 to help in a benefit. It appears a local hospital brought him in his Christmas fund-raising drive against cancer. He doesn’t say an awful lot in this story by the Journal Times but any comments from him are good to see in print. This appeared in the November 26th edition, along with the photo.

Messick would succumb to a lengthy illness in 1997.

The house imagination built
Animators draw theme of Christmas House

By Jans Rider
Journal Times
Don Messick's first inkling that his voice had the potential to someday team up with some of the nation's top animated characters came after a crackle and a change of pitch during his teens.
It was then Messick began to realize his voice flexibility and possibilities.
Today he can be heard as the voice of Scooby Doo, Bamm Bamm, Astro the Dog, Boo Boo Bear, Papa Smurf, Dr. Benton Quest from "Johnny Quest" [sic] and Ranger Smith from "Yogi Bear."
He was just one of several talented voices and animators Sunday at St. Luke's Hospital's 1990 Christmas House for Cancer, at 11th and Main streets, and the Spectacular Salute to Animation at the Masonic Lodge, 11th Street and Wisconsin Avenue.
Familiar phrases
As a stream of guests flowed through the hall, Messick uttered the familiar phrases of his characters into a microphone and signed autographs for the public. At the young age of 15, Messick, who was raised in Maryland, wrote and performed on his own radio show. After high school he decided to attend acting school in Baltimore. Through the years he did live television puppet shows and radio shows.
By 1957, he began working for Hanna Barbera cartoons.
His favorite cartoon character voice is Scooby Doo, he said with a grin, a voice he has done for 20 years.
"Perhaps it's because he is my longest running voice-over. He also has so many human-like qualities, and I think I'm particularly partial to dogs," he said, smiling.
Currently, Messick does the voice of Hampton J. Pig, a character on a show called "Tiny Toon Adventures," produced by Steven Spielberg for Warner Brothers. "It's a No. 1 show that just began airing nationally in September," he said.
Just a few feet from Messick's booth were three animators for Walt Disney Studios.
Captive audience
Ed Murietta, of Burbank, Calif., who worked on "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?" and "Oliver and Company," had a captive audience as he took less than a minute to draw a quick clear sketch of Mickey Mouse.
Murietta has worked seven years for Disney studios, he said. On display at his table were a few of his sketches including Winnie the Pooh, Mickey Mouse and Roger Rabbit. He said he enjoys drawing Roger Rabbit the most.
Mickey Mouse is the most difficult to draw because the rodent is so identifiable to his public and any alteration in the character will be spotted quickly.
"Disney artwork is very structured. Every character is structured because they have to animate. Every character is designed with animation in mind," he said.
24 drawings per second
To cover one second of onscreen animation, Murietta and his assistants must produce 24 drawings of the character which, for example, might be blinking an eye of cracking a smile, he said.
Pat Boelter, a hospital spokeswoman, said the hospital decided to salute animation this year because there are so many anniversaries of shows and characters in 1990. To name a few, the Flintstones turned 25, Betty Boop became 60, and Disneyland is celebrating its 35th anniversary.
Boelter said Messick was invited to the salute because he has been a legendary voice for many of the country's animated characters.
"We wanted him to be a part of the celebration," she said.
Joining Messick and animator Murietta were Michael Horowitz, an animator who has worked on Disney mainstays such as Donald Duck, Mickey Mouse and Goofy, and Dave Pacheco, the creator of "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?" and "The Little Mermaid."
Demonstrations, appearances and displays will continue through Dec. 9 at the Masonic Temple. Boelter expects attendance to reach 40,000, up about 10,000 from last year's events.

My thanks to Devon Baxter for clipping the article.

Sunday, 21 February 2021

Flintstones Weekend Comics, September 1964

Seven years ago, this blog featured Flintstones Sunday comics from 1964. Unfortunately, I stopping finding readable copies so there were no posts for four months. Lately, I accidentally found a source with the four months’ worth of comics so I’m going to post them.

Actually, at least two of them did get posted along the way, but we’ll bring you the full month.

September 6th: “Write it down” may be the cleverest line of the month. And an ink pen and dial telephone really are Stone Age.

September 13th: I guess those are little baby dinosaurs near the pointing kid in the last panel. We get silhouetted characters and non-smoking volcanoes.

September 20th: Fred and Wilma always seemed to have a better wardrobe in the comics than on TV. I’m still not much on the thinking Pebbles but it seems to work in the comics. As you can see, Mr. Slate is not Fred's boss in the comics.

September 27th: It’s always nice seeing Dino get some space. Betty doesn’t appear this month. In fact, she doesn’t appear next month either. I guess it’s only in the comics that Dino says “Gleef Gleef.”

Click on any of the comics to enlarge them.

Saturday, 13 February 2021

He's Still a Top Cat

It’s tough to say how much the older Hanna-Barbera cartoons are in the public consciousness these days. I don’t watch TV so I couldn’t tell you if any channel is airing them. The Flintstones got a Blu-ray release last year and The Jetsons came out in the same format a year earlier, so the people at Warners still thinks there’s a market for some of the cartoons.

This is a roundabout way of saying I was surprised to see a story the other about some of Hanna-Barbera’s output, including Top Cat. It was in, of all places, The Press and Journal of Aberdeen, Scotland. Granted, it appears to be a column designed to bring about nostalgia in older readers, but it’s better than nothing. You can read it here.

You’ll have a good laugh at how the writer praises Bill and Joe’s Tom and Jerry cartoons at MGM—with a frame from a Chuck Jones Tom and Jerry! And you’d think he’d mention that Ken Muse animated both the MGM Tom and Jerry cartoons and Top Cat (in the frame above, you can see the same expression he gave Tom in a number of theatrical shorts).

Meanwhile, the Gwinnett Daily Post this week had a trivia question about the series.

And over at the
NBC Right Now site, a lifestyles writer has named Top Cat number 86 in its list of the Top 100 TV shows of the ‘60s (people love lists).

Incidentally, The Hollywood Reporter blurbed on July 16, 1961:

Writer-cartoonist Tony Benedict has been signed to a three-year exclusive pact by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera. As his first assignment, Benedict will tele-script two “Top Cat” shows.

Tony has mentioned to me did work on Top Cat but he wants to make it clear that he started at Hanna-Barbera in 1960 without a contract, first writing and storyboarding the Huckleberry Hound and Yogi Bear shows (he invented Alfie Gator on the Yakky cartoons) and moved on to the half-hour comedy prime-time shows, and others “too humorous to mention,” he tells me. I was hoping he could tell me which T.C. episodes he wrote, as the credits were snipped from the shows some time ago (before the DVD release), but I am awaiting a response.

Saturday, 6 February 2021

Le Hound et Le Bear Yogi

When the Huckleberry Hound Show DVD came out years ago, it included some of the little cartoons-between-the-cartoons found on the original series. It didn’t contain all of them. Whoever was running Hanna-Barbera then didn’t know where a lot of things were. Considering some bumpers on the DVD were from VHS recordings, those must have come from someone’s personal collection.

Internet TV host Stu Shostak recently purchased a 16mm black and white reel of the Huck show in French and thoughtfully sent me a copy. (This blog has always had good readers). He figured I would be interested to hear the version of the end title theme. More interestingly is it has at least two mini-cartoons that never made it to DVD.

Here’s one. Huck tunes in the next Yogi Bear cartoon. You kids today don’t have to adjust the verticle knob so the picture doesn’t roll.

Someone drew characters in these mini-cartoons with half-moon eyes and little round mouths. I want to say it’s Don Williams but I honestly don’t know.

Yogi steps out of the set to join Huck in watching a Yogi Bear cartoon.

Huck checks out some Yogi butt.

This is a bit off the topic, but it's a story that appeared in the Fresno Bee on May 7, 1961 about foreign dubs of Hanna-Barbera series. I imagine this was a hand-out from Arnie Carr's PR department. By then, Yogi had his own show.

Studio Now Dubs Japanese Spanish To Flintstones
Lloyd Burns, vice president in charge of international operations of Screen Gems announced both Spanish and Japanese dubbing has started on the entire first year's production of The Flintstones.
The Hanna-Barbera animated show, one of the top new entries of the current TV season in the US, has just been sold to Japan. It already has been sold in four Latin American countries: Mexico, Venezuela, Argentina, and Uruguay.
In addition, the series already is on the air in English in five other countries: Canada, England, Australia, Finland and the Philippines.
Hanna-Barbera's Huckleberry Hound, the first made for TV animated series to undergo any dubbing, now is sold in over 30 countries, which brings it close to being an all-time international best seller. Huck now speaks six languages: Spanish, Portuguese, German, French, Japanese and English. Screen Gems distributes all the Hanna-Barbera animated shows, of which there will be five a week on US TV next fall.

Here’s the opening title card in French.


There was no opening/closing animation, just cards. And the reel has something which was chopped off the DVD release. Instead we got a frozen card.

If you’re wondering, the cartoons were Un Cerveau Vagabond, Le Gentil Chaton and Zélé Facteur.

The French version decided to omit the Randy Van Horne singers. For the end titles, the show used the instrumental track (in those days at H-B, the effects and music were mixed onto one track).