Tuesday 17 February 2015

"HANNA- BARBERA" Happiness

There is one animation company, which remains a special spot in my heart “Hanna-Barbera”. I was not aware that the cartoons were from the sixties. Nor did it matter. My dad deserves credit for introducing me to their works. I was two or three when he purchased a “Dastardly and Muttley” video. At that age I could not understand the humor, however I enjoyed the catchy theme. 

I was intimated seeing Mr. T wearing his gold chains, but was relaxed seeing the snippet of Top Cat. At the time I wondered, who was this character. I was captivated by his manner of speaking and appearance. In addition to the calculating cat, I was exposed to Atom Ant. I thought it was a clever concept, of a small creation having super powers. Howard Morris selected a neat voice. Then “the smarter than the aver-age bear” appeared. I thought it was ingenious of Yogi acquiring food from the inn, using a bow and arrow. The character wearing his pork-pie hat, tie and collar made an impression on me.

As a child watching “Huck”, “Yogi”, “Top Cat”, and “The Jetsons”, one common thread I observed was how charming they were. They possessed warm personalities, which made you feel like they were apart of your family. They produced many successful stars, among the types, anthromorphic animals or humans, with their distinct personalities. Early designers, Ed Benedict, Dick Bickenbach, Jerry Eisenberg, and Iawo Takamoto devised appealing character model sheets.

Amongst the voice actors that established the characters, were: Daws Butler, Don Messick, Doug Young, Arnold Stang, Janet Waldo, Paul Winchell and other talents. The catchy catchphrases they sprouted are attributed to their energizing vocalizations. Listening to the character’s voice, you could infer his or her nature. Who would better explain the popularity of their creations? Than Bill and Joe.

It would take multiple posts to list the many memorable characters, in the “Hanna-Barbera” universe. For the interest of brevity, this post will focus on the eleven favorites of yours truly. In order of appearance:


He is always jovial, often crooning an ear-deafening rendition of “Oh my darlin Clementine”. As his series was not formulaic, he existed in any time period (Medieval, Prehistoric, Roman Empire). Policeman, mountie, sheepherder, lion tamer, veterinarian, taxi driver, scientist, fireman, and police warden were the many occupations he dabbled at. A hound of many trades.

The South are the softest people. What better creation would be deserving of it than the honourable hound. The color blue is relaxing, which is appropriate to his calm demeanour. No matter how cruel the circumstances may be: He is always relaxed. An example of Huck's being relax despite how irritating the situation is in "Picadilly Dilly".

When London bobby Huck is in the cobblestone street. The dilly takes delight in squashing the helmet he is wearing, immediately he lies down in the street maniacally laughing."You got to admit he has a kind of offbeat sense of humour there," our constable remarks as our London bobby is tugging his helmet off. There is no trace of irritation present in the canine's cadence.

When the Dilly takes him directly to Dr. Jikkle's, once again he strikes his helmet. "I don't why he finds this so comical," he comments while removing his helmet again. The Dilly undergoes transformation now appearing as Dr. Jikkle. He laments "The police! I knew you'd fine me sooner or later. In a way, I'm glad. When you mix hydroexitrene and peritone together, you're bound to get a schizo-frantic reaction." I like how Huck responds as if he understands what is occurring, while he is completely unaware. Another display is in “The Scrubby Brush Man”
Huckleberry is given the task of selling a brush, to the terrible 13th precinct. The customer's response to the previous tactics is brutish. During Huck's attempt he dismisses the salesman resistant signs - “No Peddlers”, “Salesman Go Home”. Before ringing the doorbell, he explains to the audience, “In this business, you got to be extra per-lite like.”

When Daws voices Huckleberry Hound, his mispronunciation of words adds to his fallibilities. When the client opens the door. Huck comments, “I see you have one of our products in your hand there.” Just before being bashed with a brush. “That’s what we call in the trade ‘the brush off’,” our salesman snickers. The laugh Daws gave him was natural. I love his ability of “brushing himself off” the disappointment. Then laughing at the ordeal. It seems like the right attitude to apply, when experiencing the brutal blows of life.

What is admirable about Huckleberry Hound is his persistence. In the process of completing a goal, there will be an occasional setback that prevents him. Despite wether he comes out as winner or is defeated he remains cheerful. Usually he makes a joke or comments on the situation.


“I hate meeces to pieces!” shouts the bow-tie wearing cat as he runs past the same background with a broom. Depending on the premise of the cartoon, writer Warren Foster would have either the “Meeces” being enemies or friends with Mr.Jinks. 

In "Strong Mouse" when Mr. Jinks discovers the Meeces have cleaned out the lactic fluid in the fridge. He uses bug spray in order on them. Pixie and Dixie wonder why he used the spray canister on them. "I’ve been so lenient with you guys, you forget you forget who I am (ceases smiling and glowers). I am the cat! When you see me, you should cringe. Beg for your miserable lives. Tremble in abject-like ter-ror!" The two mice laugh at his speech. He wonders what the hilarity is in what he has said. The Meeces explain how deep inside he can't extremely dislike them.

Another example is in "Lend Leece Meece" when Charlie moves into the house next door. Mr. Jinx welcomes him to the neighbourhood and offers anything he needs. He explains to Jinks how he is anxious about being evicted from his home because it's too recent to have mice. Mr. Jinks loans out the Meeces to Charlie until he has his own mice to run after. "And don't show your meece faces around here until I call you guys," Jinx says as they are leaving. Two weeks later an anxious Jinx has noticed that Charlie has not returned his Meeces.

When he is unable to retrieve Pixie and Dixie from Charlie.  He asks the them whose company they would prefer living with.  They wanted to live with their new neighbor. Mr. Jinks strongly responds
"You brainwashed them Meeces". it shows how he does not accept them with anyone else, but him. In a strange way it is a form of "commensameecelism".Warren Foster reiterated the philosophical aspect of the team: "The mice make allowances for the occasional attacks on them by Jinx. They understand he is not evil. He is just a cat and he can’t help being himself." 

I like the nice voices Daws Butler and Don Messick supply for Dixie and Pixe, respectively. One of the very few, Butler, characters I can do a passable imitation of. As apart of his beatnik lexicon, he sprinkles “Sheesh”, and “like” frequently. 

One enjoyable quality is how when he runs after the Meeces, he rationalizes his reason to the audience.  In "Heavens To Jinksey" one of his asides is "I am so evil I frighten myself," as he chuckles. Or in "Plutocrat Cat" when he plays the game "Bumbly-Bee" which consists of Pixie and Dixie wearing wings and humming as he pursues them with a broom. He says “Okay, so I’m a tyrant,” he tells us. “I, like, uh, you know, find a outlet for my artistic tempera-ment playing ‘Bumbly Bee.’ A chuckle will rise out of me, when he breaks the fourth wall to the audiences, about how his scientific prowess is surprising due to him being a feline.


When I was in grade six Teletoon would air “Yogi Bear”. Yogi and Boo-Boo would outwit Ranger Smith, as they peruse “pic-a-nic” baskets by the bushel in Jellystone Park. Daws Butler provided him, with a lilting delivery that matched his positive personality. The voice benefited him as he rhymed regularly. Daws enhanced the script by having Yogi pronounce words like, “pic-a-nic” and “aver-age” by breaking the words into two syllables. When he would laugh as "Hey-hey-hee-hee" that would send a lightning bolt of delight down your spine. 

At the time, my interests lay in the “Disney” cartoons. I drew a comparison between Yogi and the series, which featured Humphrey Bear against Ranger Woodlore. The two bruins would sneakily scrounge for sustenance, from their rangers in a forest or park. At the time, I hypothesized, how Jack Hannah who directed the Humphrey shorts left Disney to join Joe Barbera. He modified the concept while starting their new studio. When watching the credits carefully, I discovered that the two gentlemen spelled their names differently.

When I hear the “needle drop” scores that played in the cartoons: It takes me back to sitting on the couch with my father watching Yogi Bear. I slowly warmed up to the series, as the animation appeared choppy in the early entries. In retrospect I found the first season strange, but interesting for the inconsistency with the design of the Ranger. Before settling on the name Ranger Smith, he was referred to as, Joe, Fred, Bill. In the first season he seldomly snatched a pic-a-nic basket. The cartoons were very enjoyable, but the entries that stood out for me were: “Robin Hood Yogi”,  “Hoodwinked Bear” and "Yogi's Birthday Party". 

In  “Robin Hood Yogi” one of his attempts was leaping from a tree limb, only landing smack dab through the trailer watching a woman cooking lunch. “Scram! Shoo! Skidoo, you!” the woman exclaims, as she pummels Yogi with a frying pan. It was one of my favorite couplets that Charles Show wrote. I would constantly repeat that line, when I would play at recess. The clunking sound effect of the pan drubbing his head has always stuck in my mind. The white lines that represented the reverberation of the instrument was a nice touch. Art Lozzi’s dark green background for the forest, matched the color of the sofa, where I sat while watching the cartoon. The ending of Yogi conning Ranger Joe  into becoming one of his Merry Men was funny.   
I recall how much fun I had viewing “Hoodwinked Bear”. The opening scene Yogi is reading the signs “Do not feed the bears!” in the foreign languages. Upon him reading the sign in German was when I was aware of how versatile Daws Butler was.

Daws Butler used his ‘Bilko’ voice for the scheming wolf, which would eventually be passed down to Hokey. When a performer bases a character’s voice on a famous personality it eventually evolves into an original creation. I never knew who Phil Silvers was; To me it sounded as if the character was an original invention.

When the wolf was in the process of shoving Yogi in the closet. He protests “Stop! I am an old lady.” The wolf responds: And you won’t get any older if you give me trouble, because I’m merciless. I’ll show you no mercy.” I love the gusto that he breathes into when delivering the word ‘mercy’. Daws savory reading highlights Warren Foster’s witticisms as the Wolf.

The doorbell rings, Wolf delivers an aside to the audience “Oh, boy. Real clock-stoppers, both of ‘em. I don’t know who’s homelier, granny or the kid.” I got a kick out of it when the characters used the word homely. I liked the wolf’s relaxed expression as he said that while touching the back of his head. It’s a good natural movement.

George Nicholas delightfully animated the wolf covering his in disgust. I found it amusing how the wolf was revolted by Boo-Boo as “Red”; Instead he would eat the contents of the picnic.

Boo-Boo: “I am not a little girl. I am a little Boo-Boo.”
Wolf: “A boo-boo. Yeah, I’ll buy that you are a ‘boo-boo’ all right.”

Don Messick did a tremendous job bringing out the naivety as Boo-Boo.
When "Yogi's Birthday Party" aired I recall how jubilant Hoyt Curtin's Dixieland version of "The Yogi Bear Show" added to my excitement. The framing sequence of Ranger Smith explaining to the audience how Yogi Bear's surprise birthday party was organized was nice. Ranger Smith keeps his party as a surprise, by telling Yogi that he will be starring in his own half-hour show. 
 At that time I could partially detect drops of Ranger Smith's jaded cynicism towards Yogi's exaggeration about his talents. For example the Ranger comments "Yogi your modesty overwhelms you." I could not explain why I enjoyed jokes or lines that whizzed over my mind. Perhaps it was the adult aspect to them.  I liked Yogi's enthusiasm when promoting his television special to the tourists and the chef. My favorite tactic of his was him littering advertisements from the sky. Unbeknownst to me at the time was Hoyt Curtin's score from "Top Cat" was used during the scene. I enjoyed the music, but I was unaware which series it originated from. 
When he arrived on the scene of his special, he implores Ranger Smith to postpone it, as he is not ready. The Ranger reveals that he is the guest of honor on his birthday, as he presents a book with his name on it. he stunned reaction as he fainted upon hearing about the surprise was animated nicely touch. I liked Daws Butler's verklempt delivery by the surprise. My favorite part was when his fellow members from the "Huckleberry" , "Quick Draw", and "Yogi" shows greeted him. I adored the interaction between Yogi and his pals. It had been a while since I had seen Augie Doggie, I recall my father telling me "These characters are good" when they appeared. A capper to this special was a joyous musical tribute led by his friends. I was delighted when they threw him in the air. 
"Don't  shoo. Stay around for part two in a week,  until then don't peak. Hey-hey- hee-hee!" endorses Yogi Bear.

Images and dialogue for "Robin Hood Yogi, "Piccadilly Dilly", "Hoodwinked Bear", "Lend Lease Meece", "Strong Mouse", "Scrubby Brush Man" are from Yowp's blog.


  1. Great job on this, Adel… proving once again that you should post more frequently!

    Huckleberry Hound is my favorite Hanna-Barbera character, and one of my favorite animated characters of all time. And, “Piccadilly Dilly” just happens to be one of my most favorite Huck cartoons – due, in large part, to its great dialogue. (And, you know from my Disney comic book work, how much I love great dialogue.)

    Hal Smith, with that crazy laugh and his transition to the morose Dr. Jikkle, is just as responsible for the success of that cartoon as is Daws Butler.

    That “Bilko Wolf”, who later evolved into Hokey Wolf, is another favorite character, appearing with Yogi or Huck. I, too, heard the voice before I’d ever seen Phil Silvers.

    Having seen a few Bilko episodes on DVD of late, it proves what has been said about Daws Butler’s vocal impressions, be they Phil Silvers, Jackie Gleason, Art Carney, Alfred Hitchcock and more… He doesn’t do an exact impression of them, but more on the order of “what you’d think they’d sound like” in your mind’s ear (…if that makes any sense).

    Perhaps my favorite H-B supporting character, Alfy Gator (from Yakky Doodle), certainly supports this. Alfy does not sound like Alfred Hitchcock… yet, he sounds as you “imagine” Alfred Hitchcock sounding.

    Back to the “Bilko Wolf”, my favorite bit with that character was in the three little pigs cartoon, when Boo-Boo (in his ultimate moment of naiveté) asks what the wolf wants with the pigs.

    The wolf repeats the question in utter disbelief and asks rhetorically: “How SHELTERED a life can you lead?”

    And that’s why the early H-B cartoons will always be special to me. There was so much fun to be had seeing them as a little kid – and still more fun waiting for you when you watched them a bit older!

    1. In the words of our chuckleberry friend, t’was “mighty perlite like of you for the generous comment and plug!

      I love the 18th century Cockney accent that Daws Butler and Hal Smith deliver in the gentlemen, Ed and Alfred in the beginning. Warren Foster’s dialogue works very well. My intention was to mention Hal Smith’s superb performance as Dr. Jikkle, but I felt it was off-topic. No one can deliver that limitless laughter like ‘e does. Joseph Montell’s backgrounds substantially add to the haunting feel of London in 1800.

      I like the animation of Huckleberry filing his nails as he is waiting outside for his superior and Dr. Jikkle to finish drinking the concoction. My favorite line: “I’ll let someone else worry about the Picadilly Dilly. I have a couple dillies of my own.” As observed by Huckleberry as the transformed superior and Dr. Jikkle is chasing him. If I had the power to unearth one cartoon with the “needle drop” music to be released this would be it.

      I slightly alluded it in the post was that is the beauty of Huck’s exploits are that they fluctuate. One week he is Robin Hood (“Nottingham and Yeggs”), the next he can be a spy “Cluck and Dagger”, etc.

      Glad you feel similarly about him as I do. I would say Top Cat is my favorite. I will reiterate my fascination with the feline, on my birthday two weeks from now.

      Let’s not forget the many entertaining comic stories that he starred in, published by Dell and later Gold Key.

      That’s the merriment behind the early “H-B” cartoons, how there jokes that whizz by, but as you get older, you enjoy it. Call it a boomerang humor effect!

      Dooon’t worry about next week I have the following week’s post almost ready. Originally this was to have been one post, however many of the entries were long. I decided it would be more enjoyable if it were spread out.

      Albeit with a different design, but similar personality as Hokey's. Could this have been Yogi's first encounter, with the character who would eventually replace him on "THE HUCKLEBERRY HOUND SHOW"?

      I am glad that the "Bilko" voice was utilized for one of their star character's. I can't get enough of that quality Daws brings to the table.

      I understand how with many of Daws preformances, it is actually "what you think they sound like". It makes sense. In "THE SIMPSONS" episode "HOMR (" Season 12, Disc 2) the family visits an animation festival. They encounter a voice artist who has voiced Yellowback Yak, who based his voice on the cowardly lion. I wondered if that was the writer's subtle jab at how many of "H-B" character's voice are influenced by celebrities.

  2. Great post, Adel! You've given a perfect snapshot of what made the early TV efforts of Hanna-Barbera so special. The simple, but well-constructed drawings by many members of the former MGM animation staff, deliciously stylized painted background layouts, and perfect performances by Daws Butler and Don Messick.

    Bill and Joe truly deserved their success, for they delivered a great gift to kids of the Baby Boom era. Imagine the thrill of NEW dialogue-driven cartoons back when TV animation consisted of re-running old theatrical shorts. Instead of cartoons reflecting Charlie Chaplin or Eddie Cantor, H-B brought characters that reflected the pop culture of their era, such as Art Carney, Marlon Brando, and Alfred Hitchcock. I believe YOWP cited an early Huck short as being the first cartoon to mention and animate potato chips, which were new to the U.S. mass market at the time.

    From the show's debut, Huckleberry Hound was an immediate hit with all ages, and provided a gateway to the phenomenon that would be The Flintstones. So much of the 1957-1964 H-B output is equally entertaining to watch today. It sure would have been nice to get second and third seasons of Top Cat and The Jetsons from that crew, wouldn't it? I imagine T.C. and the gang would have gleefully hopped the subway over to Flushing Meadows in order to hustle the crowds of the 1964 World's Fair!

    I'm not sure of Yogi's first encounter with Hokey Wolf, but here's a treat: 56 minutes of animated Hanna-Barbera commercials for Kellogg's cereals! There's a few fun cross-overs of the Huck/Yogi/Quick Draw menagerie (warning: it may just make you hungry for cereal!)


    Enjoy and keep up the great posts! – Dan

    1. Dan, many thanks for the great compliment! I enjoy the detail and your format of referencing sources on your blog posts.I am glad that you were able to experience how special “Hanna-Barbera” is to me. I will TRY to Blog regularly. Actually I have a lot of posts that are of interest that are in the pipeline.

      Earlier today I was watching a press junket for the 2010 “Yogi Bear” film. Dan Akroyd shared a similar story of coming back from an uncomfortable walk back from school, he found warmth-watching Yogi. It’s great to find how much enjoyment he and other’s have had from viewing the Yogi Bear cartoons.

      There is vitality to the early “H-B” productions. Even if you know every punch line, gag, it stays fun.

      I wish Warner Bros’ would promote the classic characters for future generations.

      My father’s introduction to “Hanna-Barbara” were the comic books. He told me how monthly there would be a new title issued. Scott Shaw! Likens “Jay Ward” and “Hanna-Barbera” as the cavalry coming to the rescue.

      I love the references to the old television shows, because it makes you want to view the shows more.

      You are preaching to the choir! I would have loved to have seen “Top Cat” and “The Jetsons” been renewed for additional series.
      At least the comics published by Gold Key, pick up where the shows left off.

      Thanks for sharing the link to the Kellogg’s commercials! I had seen them earlier when you retweeted it on Twitter. It is amazing how fluid the animation are in these. It’s interesting how Mel Blanc is also featured.