Saturday 3 September 2022

Oh, Dear. Oh, My. Another Birthday

The Jetsons wasn’t the only effort from the Hanna-Barbera studio to make its first appearance 60 years ago.

Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera decided that, instead of having a half-hour show that a sponsor would sell to stations in different cities, they (or, rather, Screen Gems) would market their own short cartoons that a station could air as it pleased. The three different series could be dropped in individually in a hosted kids show, or they could be strung together into a show of whatever length it desired.

After fussing around with different concepts, the studio produced five-minute cartoons starring Lippy the Lion, Touché Turtle and Wally Gator.

This has raised the question—when did the cartoons debut?

It’s pretty much impossible giving an answer when it comes to syndicated cartoons that could be dumped into an omnibus cartoon show with anything else the station rented, or were just another part of a kid show with a live-action host. Someone on-line has raised the date of September 3rd—60 years ago today—perhaps based on a post on this Yowp-tastic blog. If you’re willing to accept the claims of an ad for KCOP in the Los Angeles Times on September 3, 1962, then today is their birthday.

(We can make a possible exception for Lippy’s sidekick Hardy Har Har, who appeared in an embryonic form in the Snooper and Blabber cartoon Laughing Guess that first aired February 29, 1960 when he sadly mutters “Oh dear, oh my.”)

Touché, Wally and Lippy got a preview in the Los Angeles Citizen-News entertainment page on August 28, 1962. It would appear the three made their first appearance on the air the day before (Aug. 27) then settled into regular daily programming the following week. The critic not only thought the characters would be enjoyable for children, she also outlined the plots of the preview cartoons, and mention’s H-B’s other 1962 series

TV Time
Cartoon Stir Young Minds
TV Editor

There may be more in cartoons for children then most of us think.
Because those animated antics are not performed by real people, but the creations of paper and ink, they could easily stir the young minds much more than a western adventure show or a “Dennis the Menace.”
It seems that an animated figure running across the screen leaves a lot to the imagination, especially to the willing imagination of children.
Hanna - Barbara Studios’ latest creations, “Touché Turtle,” “Wally Gator” and “Lippy the Lion” give credence to this idea. All three were previewed Monday morning on Channel 13, before they start their regular run next week at 6:30 p.m.
First thing that will tickle the young viewers’ curiosity is probably the names of these new cartoon characters. Just saying Touché Turtle and Lippy the Lion out loud must be fun for kids.
Lippy the Lion turned out to be just goofy enough to have a feline friend called Hardy Har Har. And the two of them seemed exactly the type of characters who would run from a loud pirate captain without any thought of fighting back.
Because they came across the screen as believable personalities you might never meet in this world, I’m sure the youngsters will not think any of their escapades are impossible.
Touché Turtle had a rather throaty voice to go with his hard-shelled soft-hearted personality. His pal Dum Dum was an over-grown puppy type who was agreeable to anything.
These two got involved with a rather tame gorilla in what appeared to be a loose spoof on the movie of “Mighty Joe Young.” And they did it without filling the screen with terrifying violence.
l imagine that Touché Turtle could become everyone's favorite as he romps through his adventures as the unheroic underdog.
Wally Gator turned out to be an alligator with more size than sense or courage. His troubles began after an old English hunter mistook him for a dragon on his front lawn.
This segment had some of the best comedy lines of the three cartoons. Children must have enjoyed it when Wally Gator asked, “What are you, an alligator hater?” or “Don’t you recognize a confirmed coward when you see one?” All three series have successfully relied upon continuous action based on story lines with which the viewer can associate himself.
Hanna-Barbera will be giving youngsters lots of laughs, plus something for the imagination to feed upon with their Channel 13 schedule this fall. And adults won’t be turning away from them either.
If grown-ups find these three-cartoon series a shade juvenile for their tastes, Hanna-Barbera have come up with another creation, “The Jetsons,” fashioned for the more sophisticated crowd. It will be seen Sunday at 7:30 p.m. on ABC-TV.
“The Jetsons’’ takes an animated family and projects them into the next century.
There’s the father, George, who drives the skyways to work in his atomic-powered bubble. And Jane, his wife, who has to remind son Elroy not to lose his rubbers during a school field trip to Europe.
Daughter Judy does the solar swivel on an anti-gravity dance floor and meets her friends at orbiting Space-burgers.
Although it looks like many of the lesser cartoon series which began hopefully a year ago will no longer be on the screen, these creative efforts by Hanna-Barbera may very well be among those which satisfy cartoon lovers in the season coming up.

Lippy, Wally and Touché were bi-coastal 60 years ago today. They also made their first appearance on WGAN-TV in Portland, Maine, and on the Sheriff Colepepper Show on WNDU-TV in South Bend, Indiana (one local paper alternated Lippy’s and Wally’s names for the half-hour show). In Salem, Oregon, KPTV aired a half-hour Lippy show starting September 3rd; one paper listed Lippy in the first 15 minutes and “Wally and Touché” the rest of the half hour.

Over the course of the next few weeks, a number of papers ran ads for the coming appearance of one of the three stars, but my favourite ads are in the September 29th edition of the Lansing State Journal. Kids were invited to colour in the cartoon characters on newsprint, and connect the dots on Touché. Yeah, it looks like someone at the paper traced a publicity drawing of Quick Draw McGraw, but they’re still pretty cool.


  1. Thanks Yowp. I've always enjoyed these three. Warner Archive finally got around to releasing Wally and Lippy on bare bones DVDs a couple of years ago about a decade or so after they first announced them. I'm still holding out hope that Touche gets released too eventually although that seems pretty unlikely at this point.

  2. "Guestward Ho" was a live action show based on the book by Barbara Hooton and Patrick Dennis. Vivian Vance starred in the pilot but was not chosen for the series, which only lasted one season.

  3. What I find most interesting about the ad is the name of the show’s host, Beachcomber Bill. A few years after this, he’d move to New York, where I saw him on WPIX Channel 11 in my earliest TV watching days. He had a Sunday morning show that, if I recall correctly, didn’t show cartoons, though I could be wrong about that. He was opposite WNEW (channel 5)’s more popular Wonderama, which did show cartoons —mostly WB’s. The HB cartoons I did watch were shown on WNEW. WPIX had the crap, like Manila Gorilla, which I didn’t watch. I do remember finding Beachcomber Bill’s program to be very amusing, but I was only about 5-6 years old at the time, so who knows how good it really was. Bill (last name Biery) became WPIX’s station announcer for many years after his kiddie show went off the air.