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.