Sunday 31 July 2022

It's George Jetson's What?

No, I am not wishing George Jetson a happy birthday today.

The reason is simple. There’s not a scintilla of proof that his birthday is today.

Some cartoon fans abhor a vacuum. They also love back stories, something in the early days of the Hanna-Barbera studio no one cared about. Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera’s interest was making people laugh, not writing biographies or “bibles” (okay, they were interested in profits, but that’s beside the point).

So someone, somewhere, came up with the idea of spreading word on the internet that George Jetson was born on July 31, 2022. How they picked the date is beyond me, as Mr. Jetson never (as far as I can recall) celebrated a birthday at any time during the 1962-1963 season.

It is true that publicity articles before the series appeared on television set the show in 2062. But that was jettisoned (or is it “Jetsonsed”?) as it was never mentioned in a single cartoon. Why date a show that could possibly run for decades?

One good thing is coming out of all the internet chatter. It gives the Jetsons more exposure, hopefully to young people who have never seen the original series.

Not all the episodes are great, with hoary old plots about the boss coming to dinner and inept women drivers, but the show is worth watching for the futuristic designs. Astro is always funny, and there’s some good satire in Elroy’s TV Show, where activists have sucked all the entertainment (and life) out of television, and Uniblab, where a robot/computer turns out to be a corporate suck-up. And A Date With Jet Screamer features what is basically an early animated music video, courtesy of animator Bobe Cannon during his brief stay at Hanna-Barbera.

However, never it let it be said that Yowp is a wet blanket. Feel free to make this George Jetson Day and celebrate by watching some of the almost-60-year-old cartoons. Or you can listen to a few cues from the series below. I imagine these came from the collection of the late Earl Kress. Hoyt Curtin loved those end-stabs. No, I do not know why the alpha/numeric labels for the cues begin with “V.”




















Sunday 17 July 2022

Jailhouse Yock

Remember the gag in Tex Avery’s The Peachy Cobbler (1950) where the elves hammered nails into each other’s butts? The same thing happens in one of the mini-cartoons that ended The Quick Draw McGraw Show.

The story has the characters on the show building a brick jailhouse for Quick Draw. Here’s the hammering set up, with Blabber painting on top of a ladder.

Here’s Doggie Daddy’s expression.

And Snooper’s expression. The saucer eyes are held for several frames.

Blabber falls off the ladder. It’s tough to tell with this frame recorded onto VHS but Blab leaves behind a face.

The end gag is cute and pretty much expected in a Quick Draw cartoon. The jail is built. The characters are all trapped inside. “How we get out? There is no door,” says Baba Looey. “Oh, I forgot about that,” admits Quick Draw—but they’ll be out in time for the next Quick Draw McGraw show.

Does anyone think these are Don Williams’ eyes?

Someone should be in that jailhouse because it’s crime the Quick Draw McGraw Show isn’t on home video. The 16mm footage that was dubbed onto these old VHS tapes must be around if the original negatives aren’t, and could easily be included as bonuses on a disc set if the original half-hours can’t be located.

I’m not holding out hope we’ll ever see a home release including these neat little treasures, but it’s good to know collectors have preserved some of them and are letting them be seen on-line. Thanks to Steve Hanson for this one.