Saturday 13 April 2024

Mr. Jinks vs Dog

Hanna-Barbera cartoons have been tarnished with a reputation of little real animation, with a lot of eye blinks and maybe an arm and mouth moving, the rest of the character left on one cel, frame after frame after frame.

I won’t comment about the later cartoons. Going back to the beginning, the first Ruff and Reddy cartoon in 1957 barely had any animation, but it wasn’t as static as Crusader Rabbit. When the Huckleberry Hound Show debuted in 1958, some of the cartoons featured characters that simply popped from pose to pose without any fluidity.

In Huck’s second season, additional artists had been hired and the animation was treated like you would find in a theatrical cartoon. Not often, but it happened. Characters would move in full, sometimes one drawing to a frame. At the same time, director Bill Hanna and his animators would try to get some emotion out of the characters without resorting to a lot of talk (that would change soon).

Here’s an example from the Pixie and Dixie cartoon Hi-Fido, which aired at the start of the 1958-59 TV season. Warren Foster’s plot is simple. The meeces try to drive Mr. Jinks nuts by making the sound of a barking dog through a microphone, meaning the cat can hear a dog, but not see one.

Jinks catches on to what’s happening. But the plot turns and a stray bulldog strolls into the yard and then up to Jinksie in the house.

The animator is Manny Perez, formerly of Warner Bros. and, I suspect, working freelance on this cartoon. He employs several drawings, animated on twos, to shift Jinks’ weight from one foot to the other, and lean on the dog. Note that Jinks is drawn in full in each frame. There’s no cheating here.

Mr. Jinks lies to the meeces he was hip to their scheme, and that he “knewwww there was no dog around the house.” Jinks then chuckles about the situation. Here, Perez limits the animation to Jinks’ head in three movements. The cat then looks at the dog and continues to chuckle (the exposure sheet may have screwed up as there is no movement as Jinks laughs).

Then he realises there IS a dog. The drawing below is held for at least 16 frames to establish what’s happening.

The dialogue switches from a chuckle, to a nervous laugh, to crying as the cat expects the dog to maul him.

These are some of the crying drawings. Only the head is animated. No two drawings are used in consecutive frames.

This is where the famous H-B eye-blinks come in. That’s the only animation as the basic pose is held for about 60 frames, or roughly 2 1/2 seconds.

The shock drawing and the back-up-to-the-wall are held for two frames each.

The dog moves in and barks at Jinks. I won’t post them all but Perez uses three barking drawings, with the entire dog moving as in full animation. A Jack Shaindlin cue runs out and a Spencer Moore cue takes over in the background.

You’ll notice the lovely colour on these frames, even though there’s some digital fuzz. It would appear these cartoons were restored either for cable television or for the non-existent second volume DVD set of the Huckleberry Hound Show.


  1. I think I have a higher quality of this somewhere.

    In the US, the restored versions of season 2-3 episodes of Pixie and Dixie never aired on TV. A few of the season four cartoons did, when it returned in its final TV run in 2014, but without the opening credits.

    Hi-Fido aired on TV [unrestored], ten years ago today... almost (it aired April 16th at ~2:30am on Boomerang)

  2. I always found it odd that the colourists couldn't match colours with more accuracy between heads and bodies. Surely they could see they didn't match?

    1. What you refer to is "Comp Colors." They took it for granted that it would loose in transmission and not be noticed. But you could see it. They got better at it.

  3. Commenting as Chuck Fiala

    What you're seeing is the same color on different cel layers. A lower cel layer will darken the color. Some studios would mix a new color for the lower cel layer.

  4. I still have al old VHS copy of this somewhere. Taken from a 1996 Cartoon Network “ Super Chuck “ broadcast. Mr. Jinx was always one of my favorites. Daws and Don created magic on that series.

    1. it would be cool to see those tapes online

      pixie and dixie was a decent series for me. i like the first two seasons better than the final two.