Saturday, August 3, 2013

Comics on TV: Yogi Bear Meets The Munsters!

Here at TIAH Blog, whenever we spot an identifiable image of a COMIC BOOK appearing on a TV show, we like to make mention of it. 

And HERE you’ll find SUPERMAN # 72 (September-October, 1951) somewhat incongruously appearing on THE ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN. 

Today, we find Gold Key Comics’ YOGI BEAR # 19 (April, 1964) inside (of all places) the Mockingbird Heights home of THE MUNSTERS! 

Here’s the comic – and click on the Munsters image below for (hopefully) sufficient enlargement to allow you to see Eddie Munster reading a copy of YOGI BEAR # 19. 

Note, too, that Herman is also reading a comic book, but it is unidentifiable to me.  It’s certainly not a Gold Key, by the looks of it.  Anyone wanna take a crack at it? 

This scene is from “Herman Munster, Shutterbug” (Aired: October 07, 1965), in which Herman accidently snaps a photo of two fleeing bank robbers… who have invaded the Munster residence in order to get the incriminating picture.  The family is held hostage by the two robbers (in background) and are ordered to sit on the couch and act natural.  So, each of them is seen reading something. 

I'm going out to get some new comics!

Funny, you’d think Eddie would be reading a horror comic instead of Yogi Bear, but who am I to argue with the producers of THE MUNSTERS. 

Hey, Boob!  Any tales of The Munsters in there?
You might also figure that it should have been a WOODY WOODPECKER comic, as both Woody and THE MUNSTERS were produced by Universal Studios. 

But, maybe it’s as simple as Gold Key also published THE MUNSTERS comic book, and some licensee reciprocity came into play. 

How come THEY get to have all the fun with an OCTOPUS, and WE just pose with shovels?
…Or, maybe it just happened to be on sale around the Universal lot at the time of shooting. 

Just HANGIN' AROUND, Mr. Ranger, Sir!
For me, it’s kinda cool to think that Eddie Munster read the same comic book that I did as a kid!   ...And, posed for the same corny family photos!


Anonymous said...

My guess would be that little (if any) thought went into the choices, and they used whatever magazines were at hand at the time. Not even 100% sure whether Herman is reading a comic book or a newspaper comics section, although it looks more like the former. If you wanted to speculate about hypothetical appropriate choices, we could probably compile a long list of possibilities. Didn't Gold Key/Western publish a Twilight Zone comic? (They also published Boris Karloff's Thriller/Tales of Mystery, but the TV show was on another network). And if they allowed other publishers, maybe House of Mystery or Tales of the Unexpected. Marvel was still publishing Journey Into Mystery, Tales of Suspense, et. al., but those may have switched from horror anthology to super hero series by then. There might have been Charlton horror comics (Dr. M. T. Graves?). And Warren's magazines including Famous Monsters. Well, you get the idea. For that matter, it wouldn't necessarily have to be horror. In some episodes, Herman seemed to like Westerns and detective stories. And there was an episode where Grandpa didn't want to go see a horror movie about vampires or werewolves. "I go to the movies for escapism. I don't want to watch ordinary people doing everyday things." :) -TC

Chris Barat said...


It doesn't look as if Herman is reading a DC comic, for what that is worth. I looked as carefully as I could at his comic and saw no evidence of the DC symbols and title at the tops of the pages.


Joe Torcivia said...

Anon / TC and Chris:

How do you not love something like this?!

Funny thing is, I watched that particular episode of THE MUNSTERS during its original CBS run – not to mention more frequently during the seventies-syndication-era on WPIX – and never noticed that little detail. Let’s hear it for DVD clarity and wide-screen HD TV delivery!

I would certainly have remembered the image of a comic book that I actually had – and still do!

Herman is clearly reading a comic book – but it is one that is unidentifiable, even to this self-anointed expert on the period.

It’s not a DC, for the reason Chris points out, among other things. Nor does it have the look of a then-contemporary Marvel. It’s certainly not a Gold Key or a Harvey with that panel format. It’s not an Archie, as the style and character types would also be identifiable.

Given who else was around at the time, I’d venture to guess it was either a “Post-Western Publishing” Dell comic, or a Charlton. Both tended to defy the strict categorization of house styles the other publishers conformed to.

…Or, maybe it was nothing more than a stage prop – and not an actual comic book at all! But, if that was the approach, why utilize an ACTUAL comic book for Eddie, and a stage prop for Herman, since neither Eddie’s nor Herman’s choice of reading material played toward the plot, or an individual gag.

To my mind, Herman should have been reading an EC Comic – and get frightened by it, just to tack-on another good gag!

And, yes... I agree with TC that they probably just picked up whatever they could find and, in this case, it was YOGI BEAR # 19! Just as it was very likely the case with WDC&S # 177 and ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS –after all, WDC&S was supposedly the “Best Selling Title” of the fifties, so it was probably easy for a prop man to glom onto.

SUPERMAN # 72, and other DC Comics seen on THE ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN (including a clearly identifiable copy of BATMAN # 66 “Joker Totem Pole Cover” seen in another episode, which I’ll get around to posting someday), however, are clearly instances of deliberate product placement.

…As was the rack of DC Comics seen in this past year’s animated adaption of BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS! That was a nice visual treat for DC fans!

Finally, that was a GREAT Grandpa quote to close with! …How do you not love THAT, too!

Joe Torcivia said...

Additional thought: How ironic would it be if one of them were reading a BATMAN comic?

In another three months or so from that episode’s airing, the soon to be phenomenal success of BATMAN on ABC would, unfortunately, result in the cancellation of THE MUNSTERS.

top_cat_james said...

Looks to me that Herman liked to save a few cents by purchasing those coverless comic books that some less than scrupulous newsstands and wholesalers used to peddle back in the day.

It's also worth noting that a brief clip of "Calvin and the Colonel" appeared on the episode, "A Visit From Johann" (both programs produced by Joe Connelly and Bob Mosher, as well as another whose title I can't recall at this time-something about an aquatic rodent?)

Comicbookrehab said...

I do remember an episode where Herman mentions out loud that he reads Huckleberry Hound comics, so if this episode was recorded AFTER the one in which he said that line, then it was a running gag! :)
In the early 90s, Universal had the rights to release Hanna-Barbera cartoons on home video, so this looks like good corporate synergy to me..I wonder if Taft (the company that owned HB Productions at this time) was currying favor with Universal while still working with Columbia under the Screen Gems label?

scarecrow33 said...

If they wanted a more thematically appropriate comic book for Eddie to read, right around that time (if memory serves) Gold Key was publishing a handful of issues of Mr. and Mrs. J. Evil Scientist. That way they could still have given a nod to Hanna-Barbera, if such was their aim (and it probably wasn't, judging from the comments above), and satisfied the thematic tie-in of scary-humor.

It's interesting to note that as we get farther and farther away from that time period (both in terms of time and content material), the better those old shows look!

I think I was a little too young to appreciate the Munsters when they first aired, although I remember the program being advertised. I have come to appreciate them more in recent years. But it's amazing that back then, one could turn up one's nose at something this delightful and "classic" as it has come to be, and still find plenty of other quality programming to watch. These days I can channel-surf over a hundred channels and come up empty. It's at that point when I grab a DVD of a favorite past show and watch that instead. It's great that some of these old shows have been preserved for present and future viewings.

Joe Torcivia said...

Go out for a day, and find a series of more great comments waiting for you! Let’s address ‘em, shall we!

Top Cat James writes:

“Looks to me that Herman liked to save a few cents by purchasing those coverless comic books that some less than scrupulous newsstands and wholesalers used to peddle back in the day.”

Or, maybe the character (whoever it was), on the front cover of the book, took one look at Herman and ripped the entire cover off its interior pages in order to flee in fright, as might have been done in a Casper gag.

Come to think of it, THE MUNSTERS did a few of those “Casper gags” – or their sped-up live-action equivalents!

And, sure enough, that WAS Calvin and the Colonel in that episode! I guess having the same producers made it cheap to use. Also interesting about “A Visit from Johann”, which I just perused again because of your comment, is that Herman’s origins go back to the presumed movie-version of Dr. Frankenstein (…and, as we already know, Lily and Grandpa are of the “Dracula” …er, bloodline), making THE MUNSTERS a real Universal Studios crossover series!

Joe Torcivia said...


I didn’t recall a connection between Hanna-Barbera and Universal – but, now that I think of it, I’m sure I saw The Flintstones and Yogi Bear at Universal’s theme park in Florida many years ago. Oh, those wacky entertainment monoliths, with their constant mergers and sell-offs!

Just think… Now H-B falls under Warner Bros., where great things can happen like Batman and Space Ghost teaming up on THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD – and bad things can happen such as “The Best of Warner Bros: Hanna-Barbera 25 Cartoon Collection” DVD sets!

…Now, the geeky-fan in me has gotta figure out which MUNSTERS episode contains the Huckleberry Hound reference! It’s a nice piece of symmetry, in that Huck mentioned another CBS series by name: PERRY MASON, at the close of “Hillbilly Huck” (1961).

Joe Torcivia said...


YEAH! A Mr. and Mrs. J. Evil Scientist comic would have been a great little in-gag, if only they’d done a close-up. I sure didn’t see the Yogi comic on my 1961 vintage TV, or its 1968 and 1971 upgrades either, so they probably didn’t think it mattered in such low-def. (And, in a digression completely apropos of nothing, I visited the block of my 1960s childhood home today -- and saw the house in which I first watched that MUNSTERS episode and read the Yogi Bear comic, and discovered many of the things I continue to write about today!)

As you do so often, you perfectly express my feelings about today’s television. For a medium that has provided so many wonderful moments, it has supplied remarkably few of them beyond the early seventies – or so says my personal opinion! Many of the things my wife watches, usually of the “reality” or “contest spectacle” nature, force me to leave the room – but, since that often results in these Blog postings, there’s some good even to that! (…And, to be completely fair, some of “my stuff” has the same effect on her, but we persevere as all successful couples do!)

There ARE occasional exceptions such as LOST, HEROES, FRINGE, MAD MEN – and most recently THE WALKING DEAD. And, of course, the Sunday prime-time FOX animated series. But, if not for sports and some news programs, I would probably watch no TV at all! And, I would not miss it!

Now, when I wish to be entertained, I pop in a DVD, and can remain blissfully immersed in things I actually ENJOY, instead of things I clearly do not. Even the five contemporary series I note above were originally introduced to me by DVD – where I watched them in “flurry / catch-up” mode in order to eventually join-up with the TV broadcasts of those shows.

I should do a separate post on this someday, but DVD has allowed me to have the best possible copies of complete (or near-complete) series that seemed like an impossible dream back in the home-recording VHS days. They break down as follows:

“Old Favorites” that I’ve seen so often during the formative years that I can practically recite them line-by-line (LOST IN SPACE, STAR TREK, VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA, THE FLINTSTONES, TWILIGHT ZONE, OUTER LIMITS, and more.

“Middle-Ground Series” that I knew fairly well but haven’t seen in many years (like THE MUNSTERS, GET SMART, GUNSMOKE, BONANZA, PERRY MASON).

The many “New-To-Me-Classics” that are great shows that I’ve never managed to see before – and would never have experienced if not for DVD. Among the most prominent of these are WAGON TRAIN, HAVE GUN WILL TRAVEL, THE FUGITIVE, and THE UNTOUCHABLES.

And, with all this, and old movies too, who needs to “surf 100 channels”! Not ME…Hee-hee!