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  #1  
Old 12-04-2018, 10:41 AM
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Default Johnny Unusual (Over)Analyzes 40's and 50's Cartoon TV Intros

Yeah. Yeah, we are going WAY back. It's been a while. Last time I did the 70's, a decade I was vaguely familiar with. This time I am going back to the dawn of TV to look are cartoon openings from the early years of TV animation. Like before, I want to pull the openings apart and not do any research until AFTER I write up my my examinations.

If you didn't check out when I examined cartoons from the 70's, you can check it out here.

https://talking-time.net/showthread.php?t=17842

I remember being proud of it. At the very least, it introduced me to I Am The Greatest: The Adventures of Muhammad Ali, which I took time out to review as well.

https://talking-time.net/showthread.php?t=18770

That's some good stuff. Seriously take time out of your life to watch it. It's worth it.

Like last time, I'm going to say whether it made me want to watch the show, figure out what the show is from wikipedia (AFTER I write up the review) and try to find some fan art, if possible.

Now the 70's was not a great era for animation for the most part but I have no idea with the 40's and 50's. I'm not particularly hopeful, but I sincerely don't know. It will be a ride finding out (and a shorter one than the 70's ride).

Join me, won't you? Thank you!
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Old 12-04-2018, 10:51 AM
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I'm surprised you didn't go for the 80s. Or the 60s.

Anyway, good luck finding openings going this far back!
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Old 12-05-2018, 10:40 AM
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Crusader Rabbit



We begin with a knight in full armor and a jousting lance on a galloping horse in a nebulous space. Heroic music sounds off as he takes a turn and ends up in front of the audience. A billow of dust is created and when it dissipates, we get to see our knight without his helmet. And by gum, it's a rabbit! The title comes up and the music changes to that old jaunty standard "Ten Little... Fingers." Seriously, you know a song has a bad history when it has TWO alternate racist versions in it's past.

We then see the show is produced by Jerry Fairbanks, whose name I see related to cartoons bad enough to end up in Rifftrax. And that's about it. But I did include the first few minutes in which we learn our hero tried to wipe out Texas and the narrator being really into the idea. I decided to leave it at that rather than gain any context.

This isn't the only version though. He's a far less dynamic opening, though long enough that I can say more about it.



We start, quite simply, with what can be called "Ren & Stimpy" music. For those who never watched it, Ren & Stimpy contained very little original music. There was an original intro and songs but most of the incidental music was stuff found in the public domain. Stuff like classical music, opera and older jazz. In addition, it also contained a lot of kitschy music from the 50's that would also be used in things like instructional filmstrips because they were cheap. This sounds very much like that kind of music.

This version is in what could generously be called colour. Now to be fair, the look of the cartoon is not unlike a comic strip, which would be in black and white (and if you leave the paper under the radiator, yellow) so I guess that's acceptable. But let's face it, this was probably colourized for syndication after color TVs became a thing. So probably in the early 60's.

Anyway, Crusader uses his lance to point to the title of the show, as well as the people who present it and the word "in" (not "in" that order.) We then see a tiger holding up the title of the episode: "The Great Baseball Mystery" (the mystery is "Do you REALLY not care if you ever get back?").

During the written by credits, we see our titular rabbit doing some writing himself on a typewriter. Remember typewriters? That's all I have on the subject.

We then see a credit for "Story sketch", which, based on the picture of the tiger playing with paper on the walls, seems to be an early term for storyboards.

Then we move to the voice credits and Crusader recording some lines. Then we get music scoring and Crusader cranking an old record player, which I guess is a thing you had to do, which seems tedious.

We then see the tiger playing in a box of explosives during the credits for sound effects ("Crusader Rabbit: We only do explosions!") then a bunch of other credits with no animals because no one on staff had any ideas for that. Then they seemed to wake up, realized they were asleep at the wheel and have an ink and paint credit with the tiger painting. This has already been about a minute but kids weren't looking at their watches back then because if you have one of the world's first glowing boxes, you just enjoy the novelty of lights and sounds teaming up without having to spend an entire penny at the movie house.

Also, the credit Maggi Alcumbrac feels like an anagram that Batman is supposed to solve and find out that the show is being inked and painted by his old enemy, Magical Crab Gum. For the production planning credit, we see Crusader looking through a telescope, as all planners do (?) while holding a... knife? OK.

In the camera credits, we see the tiger with a camera and one of those directing berets, probably used to protect against any falling celluloid. For editing, we see Crusader with some celluloid and scissors. Man, this credit sequence is really saving on animation. Why do I suspect the actual cartoon is about 2 minutes long?

The production supervision features the Tiger with a gun and a whip and feels particularly telling. The executive producer credit also seems pointed, though less worrying, as it featuring Crusader lazing at his desk. But who can blame him, considering apparently the entire cartoon is made by him and a tiger. And have you tried herding cat?

Finally, we see the two characters with Crusader in a directors chair and then we pan left to a door marked projection. The show doesn't even bother to animate the projection room door opening or EVEN CUTTING TO a shot of the door open. It just ends.

That whole thing might have been the Great Baseball Mystery.

Did it make me want to watch it?

The first opening promised crusading at least. The second one seemed to promise that this was a program that was produced.

Now I look on Wikipedia to learn more about the show

Jay Ward, creator of Rocky and Bullwinkle, worked on this in a business manager and producer role. So good for him. The description makes it also sound like an early take on Rocky and Bullwinkle, too, with each episode part of a serialized story and lasting about 4 minutes (I'm guessing, and hoping, that longer credits sequence was for a version where the stories were longer, as they were part of a short-lived revival series.)

Fan Art


This one feels very "late 80's post-TMNT/Usagi Yojimbo, but not as amatuerish looking"


Crusader doesn't even want to be in this joke.
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Old 12-05-2018, 10:58 AM
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With cartoons from that far back, yeah, you’re going to get some racism in there.

Are you going in alphabetical or chronological order?
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Old 12-05-2018, 07:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Octopus Prime View Post
With cartoons from that far back, yeah, you’re going to get some racism in there.

Are you going in alphabetical or chronological order?
A little of both. There are only a really small number of cartoons from the 40's, including Crusader Rabbit. Those one's I'll try to go alphabetically, although one has an alternate title. And two of them might not actually have proper openings. When I'm done those I'll be going alphabetical in the 50's.
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Old 12-06-2018, 04:43 PM
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Oh dear.... We're gonna see Clutch, aren't we?
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Old 12-06-2018, 04:51 PM
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Compared to what's coming up next, that isn't going to seem so bad.
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Old 12-07-2018, 10:04 AM
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Jim and Judy in Teleland



This one is short. Very short.

We begin in silence. Silence save for the weird ambient sound of a film reel. We see two children staring at us from inside a TV, with their hands creeping out of it, like an even more unsettling version of the Ring. We also see a 1950 copyright, though this, according to wikipedia, premiered in '49.

The silence continues for five seconds. That doesn't sound like a lot, but it sure feels like it. Very much so. Finally, a narrator, who was probably waiting kids brains to figure out what they are looking at and the sheer awe at the existence of the box of light and sound, finally pipes in when he feels that his audience might be ready to take in new information.

"Hello, boys and girls. Welcome once again to the adventures of Jim and Judy in Teleland."

We see said titles and that's about it. I guess since we have extra time, lets watch a whole episode.

WARNING, this is very racist. Like, completely and utterly. NSFA (anywhere)



We learn that the title is "The Kangaroo Boxing Match". If it was made in the day of youtube, it would be the kangaroo UNboxing match, amiright? HAHAHAHA! Kids today!

We learn that last time the kids captured an elephant for the circus of "Captain Smith", so I already know that I am not down with Jim and Judy. But things get worse. Anyway, the kids flew home on a magic carpet, but I really have no strong feelings about that turn of events.

We then see the kids in front of their TV watching Captain Smith's plane on TV and fly into the TV on a magic carpet to join him on his trip to Australia. So far so good.

Then they meet the aborigines. Fuck. Just fuck. These guys are SUPER racist caricatures. Like, I wasn't fucking kidding with that. The aborigines start throwing boomerangs at the kids and I'm hoping that the kids are killed by them. Alas, the kids survive by blowing up a bunch of balloons to deflect the boomerangs back at the people who threw them.

The kids approach the village chief who very understandably has a "I don't want to be here expression on his face." Jim shows up and gives him a balloon and he feels a lot better. He also begins shaking his head like one of the monster-things from Jacob's Ladder, which I would post as an image due to it's weirdness except "SUPER RACIST!" so fuck no.

Anyway, Jim and Judy find their way to the kangaroos who are playing leap-frog, because they don't want to conform to the games considered "normal" for their own species and more power to them.

But it turns out they are shitty parents who don't give a crap about their kids.



Luckily Judy has a blade (why?) and breaks into a coconut to give the baby joey some coconut milk.



Unfortunately, one of the kangaroos get confused and treats Judy like her baby. Judy doesn't like it and responsibly tells them that she isn't NO WAIT SHE BEATS THEM WITH A BIG STICK!



I don't like Judy. She is awful. Things get worse to because, as Jim notes, "This started the Kangaroo boxing match." Yep, Judy beats some kangaroos because they treated her like a baby, then lets them think each other kangaroo is responsible, then tells everyone to come and see. Judy is the worst.



The fight ends pretty quickly despite being titular and one of the kangaroos is taken away on a stretcher and Just feels nothing as her soul is a void that she tries to fill with violence and hatred.

Before they leave, Captain "subdue the Earth" Smith also wants an ostrich. He's probably getting an emu but do you think these assholes care? Jim catches one by tricking it to Earth an orange with a rope around it, which works somehow. Basically the orange is in it's throat and Jim can use it as a leash. Also, the emu is probably choking as it has an entire orange caught in the middle of it's throat.



The kids return home out of their TV by parachute and the narrator promise that next our heroes will abuse the animals of the North Pole.

Did it make me want to watch it?

It didn't but curiosity in general did. This isn't the worst thing America has done, but it's probably in the top 500.

Now I look on Wikipedia to learn more about the show

[/quote]Peroff created 52 episodes of the series in 1949-50 but had very difficult time finding distribution for his product. The show was later sold to Venezuela in 1954, to Deadwood, South Dakota in 1954 and to Japan in 1956. In the cartoon Jim and Judy used to enter their television for adventures. Later parents were concerned with the show saying their children were attempting to enter their televisions at home too.[/quote]

The fact that it was sold to two countries and one state is weird to me. Also, parents should have been more concerned with the hate and violence but that's the 1950's for you.

Quote:
The series was later shown in 1959 under the title Bob and Betty in Adventureland.
Presumably because Jim and Judy sounded to "ethnic."

Fan Art

If you are wondering, we will get to the character on the right fairly soon.
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Old 12-07-2018, 10:32 AM
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I think seeing a cartoon like that is how you know a Babadook is in your home
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Old 12-07-2018, 01:32 PM
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It does explore a messed up parent-child relationship.
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Old 12-07-2018, 01:37 PM
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Quote:
I legit don't know if this is just where the gif loop breaks or if that straw just suddenly becomes a switch-blade.

I don't think I'm going to rule out either possibility.
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Old 12-07-2018, 06:26 PM
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Luckily Judy has a blade (why?)
Because she's a psychopath?
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Old 12-10-2018, 11:09 AM
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Adventures of Pow Wow

The title is a pretty big warning, isn't it. The idea that a certoon from 1949 might have a nuanced and not-problematic portrayal of America's indigenous people seems slim but I'll do my best to give it the benefit of the doubt. Hey, maybe it's going to be like the later Tintins: still quite problematic but with a heart in the right place and with the intent to be respectful towards the culture. I feel like the two possibilities are, nonetheless, not great. OK, let's take a lookie loo.

I actually have heard of this show. I comes up a few times as a reference in Mystery Science Theater 3000 whenever there's some sort of generic Indian drumming. So I do have an idea of what the theme song will be.



We hear generic Indian drumming with the title over a shot of an adobe village of some kind.

"Pow Wow, the Indian Boy loved all the animals and the woods."
Pow Wow, the Indian Boy loved all the animals and the woods."

I hope platonically.

The actual titles fade away quickly for more credits.

"Pow Wow was the friend of all the animals in the woods."

I feel like this had been established twice already within the first 12 seconds.

"If there was any trouble he could help them if he could."

I know this is simply meant to be past tense, but I like to see it as Pow Wow sort of giving a non-commital "promise" of help. "I mean, I'll help you 'if I can'. But let's see what comes up first. Do you have anyone else's number, just in case?"

We then see Pow Wow standing next to a wall where the episode's title pops up. Pow Wow winks at us for some reason ("Get it? It's words!") and then we close up to the title while the image fades away.

"If Pow Wow couldn't help them he would go to the medicine man,
and he would tell them stories of how it all began
all began
all began."

So maybe it sounds like Pow Wow gets some help from someone older and wise than he... or maybe if he can't do it he fucks off for some story time with the old timey equivolent of TV, eating whatever the old timey equivolent of Sun Chips are (grits, maybe?) and that's it.

Anyway, due to not showing any of the show's content, this actually isn't TOO bad. I mean, it's not great but by 1949 standards... well, let's try to judge nothing by 1949 standards.


And now what you've all wanted to see: the same intro as a Polish doo-wop number!



Did it make me want to watch it?

No.

Now I look on Wikipedia to learn more about the show

It didn't tell me a lot. Each episode, Pow Wow usually helps a different animal, then gets advice from the Medicine Man. It was also a recurring feature in the early days of Captain Kangaroo.

Fan Art

No fan art, but I had the misfortune of finding this.

Ugh.

BTW, this is the last cartoon of the 1940's. Starting soon, we finally start the cartoon of the 60's!
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Old 12-11-2018, 10:39 AM
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The Adventures of Paddy the Pelican

This is one I have never even heard of. Some of these things I've heard of in some capacity, except maybe Jim and Judy (and even then it might have been somewhere on the edge of my vision). But this one, I have no idea. Let's hope it's delightful.



Or... deeply annoying. We start with some organ music (and not a good organ, either. It's clearly the cheapest someone could buy), and if you don't think that's great, that's only because you don't hear what comes directly after it. The theme song is basically laugh-quacked and laugh-quacked AT US as an assault on the ears of the audience. It's hateful and mocking and wants you to know it. It has gone a long way to convince me that despite knowing nothing of the title character that he is awful and I will actively root against him.

We also see the title and what I assume is the title character in the corner but that leaves very little impression next to the theme itself. An announcer chimes in loud enough so that the theme becomes a little muted, Thank God, and states "Hi there, boys and girls! Let's join Amos and Buster Bear as swim far out into the blue, blue ocean looking for adventure."

Even the announcer is trying not to acknowledge that Paddy the Pelican is in this show. Also, the episode is titled "Two Wet Bears", which my perverted mind recognizes only as two possibilities: being about two hairy buff guys or being a euphemism for something. If it is the latter, it is either really gross or it isn't but calling it wet bears make it sound gross. So I am hoping it's the hirsute fellows.

Did it make me want to watch it?

I could barely make it through a 24 second intro.

Now I look on Wikipedia to learn more about the show

Quote:
It is exceedingly rare, but has gained some fame for appearing on Jerry Beck's Worst Cartoons Ever. On the DVD, Beck states that he has not found any evidence that this particular animated adaptation was aired on TV, although there is evidence that the Paddy the Pelican character began in 1950 as a local TV puppet show on Chicago's WENR-TV (now WLS-TV).
Oh, so that's some interesting info. It might never have aired. This seems like the right decision.

There was a Worst Cartoons Cartoons website, BTW, that Jerry Beck didn't write for but I think he provided some context. I used to frequent it pretty often, though it became kind of a technological computer slowing mess. But I didn't realize until know that the cartoon pelican that was used as a logo was probably this guy.

Quote:
The show is notable and infamous for its shoddy pencil-sketch artwork, reused animation, rambling and apparently improvised voiceovers, muffled and poorly synchronized soundtrack, and general low-budget problems.[citation needed] The only music is a few chords played on an organ, although the title card is accompanied by a man making noises apparently intended to sound like a pelican squawking.
I like how even wikipedia seems a little rattled by the intro.

BTW, of the six episodes that exist, it seem like he only stars in 3.5, making cameos or playing smaller roles in the others.

Fan Art

Technically safe for work but also not really.

I am morbidly curious, I admit, particularly the part where the dialogue seems to be improvised but I'll probably stay away. Far away.
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Old 12-12-2018, 10:10 AM
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Augie Doggie and Doggie Daddy

Now here we are with something I actually know. It's Augie Doggy and Doggy Daddy, who's distinguishing characteristics are... one of them talks like Jimmy Durante and the other one uses the phrase "Dear old dad." Cartoons really weren't high concept in those days. But they sure showed up a lot in cartoons.



We hear generic cartoon march music and a scene of Augie sitting in the lap of Daddy, presumably asking what happened to mommy. We then see a blue smudge on a pink background (presumably just black and white back in the 50's) with Hanna-Barbera on it. Then credits. Then... that's it. Man, these are going to be short, aren't they. And people complain about short intros now.

Did it make me want to watch it?

I feel like I may as just watch a Jimmy Durante film. Whoever that is (seriously, all I know is that he talks in a specific way and he's referenced in things I like.)

Now I look on Wikipedia to learn more about the show

Quote:
The segments centered around the misadventures of a dachshund father-and-son team. Doggie Daddy (voiced by Doug Young, based on a Jimmy Durante impersonation[1][2][3][4]) tried to do the best he could at raising his rambunctious son Augie (voiced by Daws Butler). Augie, who loved his father, would often refer to him as "dear old Dad." Their mutual admiration included Daddy gently chiding, "Augie, my son, my son", when he would disappoint his father; and when his son would say or do something that inspired pride, Daddy would turn to the audience and say with a grin, "Dat's my boy who said dat!"
Sounds like it's not really about much. Also, Augie never struck me as "rambunctious". More "sedate and respectful".

There's also an Augie Dog/Daddy Dog clearly sung by someone who isn't Doggy Daddy.


Fan Art


For Smash!



This looks like a Doggy Daddy made up of pieces of other cartoon characters. I think it's because the lines under his eye disappear into his muzzle. Otherwise, not bad.
[IMG]https://t00.deviantart.net/B5TstYi9Q3oYXyltVWDfw2U1aZg=/500x250/filters:fixed_height(100,100)rigin()/pre00/4fd3/th/pre/i/2017/123/7/7/a_baby_seal_and_a_merdoggie_by_augiedoggie_fan_92-db80hz8.png
[/IMG]


I can't wait to see the Shape of Water director's cut.
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Old 12-12-2018, 10:47 AM
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Huh, did not think that Augie and Daddy were that old. Took them for creations of HBs Post-Effort period.
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Old 12-12-2018, 10:58 AM
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THERE WAS AN EFFORT PERIOD?!?
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Old 12-12-2018, 07:07 PM
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There’s something darkly compelling about that horrible pelican... can’t say what...
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Old 12-12-2018, 07:51 PM
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I caved and watched an episode of Paddy the Pelican. It's... confounding. It is, without a doubt, the most trying and perplexing cartoon I've seen. OK, so I watched the "Two Wet Bears" episodes and I feel like if I was able to make heads or tails of it, I'd say that the titular bears had racially insensitive voices. Except I seriously can't figure it out.

Basically the story is two bears are swimming, find a boat, crash it, the owner gets mad and threatens to cook and eat the bears (with the bears apparently forgetting that they are bears and can easily dismantle "Barnacle Bill"). Then Paddy comes in to save them, reveals that the rope to the boat was frayed so it wasn't the bears' fault (wait, how do you figure?). Bill attacks them and they get away and that's it. This makes it seem much more coherent than it is. It is madness mixed with someone's dad, who is also a cocaine addict, doing desperate narrative improv while someone is holding a gun on him and also. I know my analogies get away from me, but I feel 95% confident that's the exact backstory of this series.

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Old 12-12-2018, 08:12 PM
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Holy shit, are you sure that's what actually aired? Because I've watched my share of improv folks re-dubbing existing footage, and that's exactly what that cartoon sounds like, as if the voice actors are seeing the animation for the first time in real-time and tasked with talking over it and trying to "make it funny".

ETA: Right, I forgot that the Wikipedia article already said that these were improv performances. Wacky.
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Old 12-12-2018, 08:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JBear View Post
Holy shit, are you sure that's what actually aired?
Funny thing about that.

Quote:
Beck states that he has not found any evidence that this particular animated adaptation was aired on TV, although there is evidence that the Paddy the Pelican character began in 1950 as a local TV puppet show on Chicago's WENR-TV (now WLS-TV).
This same wikipedia page also claims it aired from September to October of 1950, however, so it is hard to tell. If there were somehow any more polished versions of the show, they are apparently lost to history and apparently only six were ever made... ONE THIRD OF THE NUMBER OF THE BEAST! That's how math works, right?
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Old 12-13-2018, 03:59 AM
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Seems to me that if the rope fraying on its own is what damaged the boat, then Barnacle Bill should have threatened to cook and eat the rope.

That’s justice.
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Old 12-14-2018, 09:07 AM
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Augie was/is the flipside of Scrappy Doo. Eager to prove himself, yet respecting his elders.
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Old 12-14-2018, 10:07 AM
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Quote:
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THERE WAS AN EFFORT PERIOD?!?
It’s three in the morning on a grey April morning, Joe Barbara is slumped over his desk, he’s been there all night. His ashtray is overflowing, there’s half a bottle of bourbon in front of him. He just can’t figure out what to do with this cartoon he’s supposed to be pitching in the morning. Suddenly he stands up and yells out “What if the bear talked like Art Carney?!?”

The rest of the office looks up, they’d been asleep at their desks too, but the seed has been planted. A slow applause starts building. Tentative at first but steadily growing. Soon the entire office is cheering and, One by one, they get up, walk over to joe, and shake his hand.
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Old 12-14-2018, 11:42 AM
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Ghost from Spelunker Ghost from Spelunker is offline
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So the Hanna-Barbara effort period lasted eight hours. Got it.
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Old 12-14-2018, 07:14 PM
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Hanna-Barbera made a lot of mediocre cartoons throughout its life, but the company must've done something right for it to last as long as it did before being absorbed by Time Warner.
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Old 12-15-2018, 04:26 AM
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Originally Posted by MetManMas View Post
Hanna-Barbera made a lot of mediocre cartoons throughout its life, but the company must've done something right for it to last as long as it did before being absorbed by Time Warner.
Quantity? Not having much competition? Good syndication deals? The inability for it's viewers at the time to be able to properly judge the quality of TV programming?
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Old 12-15-2018, 04:43 AM
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I remember listening to an interview with Mark Evanier (one of HBs writers at the time, and the guy who created Scrappy Doo), and, IIRC, it was a combination of how dang cheap Hanna Barbara animation was to produce, how gifted... one of them (I think it was Barbara) was at selling pitches, and the fact that they were more concerned with making sure their studio staff was taken care of and getting work than that the finished products were good.

It was an episode of The We Got This podcast from November of last year, I’d link but I’m on a phone.
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Old 12-15-2018, 05:01 AM
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...the fact that they were more concerned with making sure their studio staff was taken care of and getting work than that the finished products were good.
I hope this is true, because it would forgive a lot from me. Bad art so some artists could eat and were treated nicely? That's fine with me. Though that and good art would have been optimal but considering the time, I'm already just floored at the mere possibility that a big company with, often, a bad product took care of its own. Heck, companies that have GOOD, successful product in wide release have a pretty bad track record on that front (The Big Two Comic Companies).

Like, I'll still give HB shit for it's lame shows, but I really hope they more than made up for it by treating the people whose blood, sweat and tears produced Goober and the Ghost Chasers the way they should be.
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Old 12-15-2018, 12:47 PM
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It really would help justify pretty much their entire artistic output, yeah.

I will contend that their superhero stuff is pretty decent. Or at least it begat Harvey Birdman, Venture Brothers and Space Ghost: Coast to Coast, so I can forgive in hindsight.
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