Hokey Wolf would probably not be pleased that he is largely unremembered today… though he’d probably find a way to turn that to his advantage in some sort of scam or con-game.
Hokey, a Phil Silvers-inspired, smooth-talking wolf, tricked, conned, and mooched his way through the final season and a half of Hanna-Barbera’s THE HUCKLEBERRY HOUND SHOW – replacing the very popular Yogi Bear, who had spun off into his own TV series.
With his worshipful sidekick, Ding-a-Ling Fox in tow, Hokey did his best to meet the needs of the pair – primarily food and shelter – all the while avoiding anything resembling work.
Hokey Wolf cartoons (usually written by Warren Foster or Tony Benedict) were always enjoyable, but it occurs to me that he may have been overshadowed by the better known (…by virtue of a prime time TV slot and years of Sat AM repeats), “similarly Silvers-spawned” Top Cat – also produced by H-B for the 1961-1962 television season.
Indeed, Hokey Wolf was the only component character of the “Big-Three H-B Funny Animal Shows” of the time (HUCKLEBERRY HOUND, QUICK DRAW McGRAW, and YOGI BEAR) to not be granted at least a one-shot comic book from Dell or Gold Key Comics – back when Augie Doggie, Yakky Doodle, and even Mr. and Mrs. J. Evil Scientist (Guest starring creations of writer Michael Maltese, used in Snooper and Blabber and Snagglepuss cartoons!) received individual titles.
(Though comics-wise, Hokey and Ding DID appear as back-up guests in the regular Huckleberry Hound comic book and the three issue “catch-all” title Hanna-Barbera Bandwagon. Hokey also had one unusual and memorable team-up with Yogi Bear in Gold Key’s YOGI BEAR # 10 1962).
So it is that we celebrate Hokey Wolf at TIAH Blog with a favorite of mine: “Chock Full Chuck Wagon”, which pits Hokey against a “Yosemite Sam-like” western cook.
I love the bit where Hokey works a “trade” with the cook, as a “perfect-for-the-scene” piece of Hoyt Curtin stock music punctuates the unfolding of Wolf overmatching Man. Watch for this at about 3:28 in the cartoon.
Also great is Hokey’s sudden deadpan declaration of the exact point where he is “out of range” of the cook’s bullets at 1:14 (“This is far enough!”) – and his “callback” to it at 2:50.
A total side note: Excepts from this particular cartoon have been regularly used as “between-show-bumpers” by cable TV's Boomerang, so Hokey can take at least THAT little bit of notoriety with him to the “Home for Weary Cartoon Wolves” – where he’ll probably end up “owning the place” inside of two hours!
Hey, he just made ME write more about him than anyone has for over four decades… He’s just THAT GOOD!
Enjoy Doug Young as Ding-a-Ling and the befuddled chuck wagon master and the great Daws Butler (…about whom was said that he didn’t actually try to impersonate Phil Silvers – but, instead, did “what you expected Phil Silvers would SOUND LIKE”) as Hokey Wolf.
…And, c’mon WB, let’s get Hokey Wolf and Seasons 2-4 of THE HUCKLEBERRY HOUND SHOW to DVD!