Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Huckleberry Hound: Introductory Interstitial Segment (1958)

Here’s something that hasn’t been on TV in decades – but was once an integral part of Hanna-Barbera’s THE HUCKLEBERRY HOUND SHOWan introductory interstitial segment.

Such segments, long since eliminated for the sake of additional commercial time, changed the way television would package and present animated product.

In it, we meet Huck and the other cast members of his show. Such a thing is far more significant than one would think from our present-day perspective because, back then, cartoons were generally introduced by and presided over by local kiddie-show hosts.

As unlikely as this seems today, perhaps the most radical change brought about by THE HUCKLEBERRY HOUND SHOW was the elimination of such a host.

Here, H-B’s jack-of-all-trades, southern blue-blooded hound presided over his own show, greeting the viewers with a “Hound dog howdy to y’all!” and introducing each segment or component part of the half hour program.

For instance, at the beginning of each show there would be a framing sequence in which, through Huck, we would be introduced to Pixie, Dixie, and Mr. Jinks and Yogi Bear – each being regular weekly features of the program. A similar sequence would close the show, and a brief interaction between Huck and the characters of each feature would directly precede the airing of that feature.

Huck might share a brief gag with Yogi Bear, and then invite the audience to stay tuned for Yogi’s upcoming cartoon. Alas, only the cartoons themselves, and not these innovative bits, appear to exist today.

Note the Kellogg’s’ Corn Flakes Rooster at the very beginning of the piece, indicating the sponsor’s influence upon the show. Oddly, until about 1965, The Rooster had more on-screen time in the show’s opening theme sequence than did Huck!

Hanna-Barbera would repeat this format in its later Quick Draw Mc Graw and Yogi Bear shows, thus proving that the toons could “…do it for themselves”. Jay Ward’s Rocky and his Friends and later Bullwinkle Show would adopt this approach to some extent as well.

So, having received our quota of esoteric detail on the history of early television animation for today, let’s enjoy this lost curio from THE HUCKLEBERRY HOUND SHOW.


Chris Barat said...


I've seen at least one additional example of these (in black and white), and it began exactly the same way -- with the rooster knocking at the door and then being obscured by the opening door. Was that a standard routine?


Joe Torcivia said...


Yes, that was the way they did it. The Rooster originally did all the things you later saw Huck do in the opening theme credit sequence – play the elephant’s trunk like a clarinet, use the mallet to propel himself up to ring the bell, etc.

Then, the Rooster would give way to Huck (as you see in this clip), until the end theme sequence, where the Rooster would drive an open topped car out of the circus tent that the opening played in – picking up Huck and all the other Kellogg’s characters of the day, like Tony the Tiger and Tony Jr, Sugar Pops Pete, and company.

At the very end, Tony Jr. would get hung-up on the tent exit, as the car leaves the circus tent, and Huck would double back on foot to catch him – and then fade out!

Later, it would be Yakky Doodle that gets hung-up and caught by Huck!

There’s just so much of this stuff that’s lost… alas!

A fair amount of it turns up on the Huck DVD set – making that even more of a great purchase!


Yowp said...

Joe, did Mike Lah do the animation on this?