Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Thrown for a Loop(y)!

Almost simultaneously, longtime friends Mark Arnold and David Gerstein e-mailed me today with the news that The Warner Archive Collection is releasing a complete MOD DVD collection of Hanna-Barbera’s LOOPY De LOOP theatrical shorts, produced between 1959 and 1965. 

You could have knocked me over with a low-carb, economy-sized feather!


Ten years ago, in 2004, when my first DVD purchases consisted of the first seasons of LOST IN SPACE and THE FLINTSTONES, and the two-season run of SCOOBY-DOO WHERE ARE YOU (worthy cultural icons all), I would never have imagined I’d see a DVD set of LOOPY De LOOP! 

Indeed, despite being a lifelong Hanna-Barbera fan, I’d hardly even known Loopy as a character. 

I first saw him in this Gold Key comic, in 1962...

...and actually thought he was a “made-up-for-comics” character, as were Uncle Scrooge and Gyro Gearloose for the Disney comics, Hedgerow Huppy for the Warner Bros. comics, and the Cave Kids for the Hanna-Barbera comics! 


It wasn’t until the early ‘80s, and Leonard Maltin’s definitive book on theatrical animation, “Of Mice and Magic”, did I learn that LOOPY De LOOP was a theatrical series.  Certainly, a series I never saw on TV… until a brief time in the late ‘80s, when USA Network ran some of the Loopy cartoons on its daily “Cartoon Express”. 

That first Loopy comic, when I wondered who the heck he was!

Loopy, for those not in the know, is a French-accented “gentleman wolf”, whose mission in life is to rehabilitate the poor image of wolves overall.  One does not envy Loopy his task, considering that literature and legend is littered with images of “The Big Bad Wolf”, “A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing” and the like. 

Indeed, Hanna-Barbera’s own HOKEY WOLF, an out-and-out con artist, might actually be one of the most benign depictions of a wolf in our vast popular culture. 

"Did you hear that, Ding?  I'm actually benign!" 

So, Loopy travels the world doing good deeds in the name of wolves everywhere, and usually getting the business in return. 
He'll get the business in the end!  

Though Loopy himself might be a lesser character, for H-B fans this release is a treasure trove of “lost” H-B material from when the studio was at its best. 

Daws Butler performs his classic French-speak as Loopy, with stories by Michael Maltese, Warren Foster, and Tony Benedict – the writers that made H-B great! Hoyt Curtin provides scores that would become vital components of most H-B ‘60s TV cartoons. 

"Say, Loopy... Why ARE you so unknown?  I mean you're a really good wolf, after all!"

Warner Archives is commended for this surprise release – especially as I took them to task for the poor job they had been doing with animation (in THIS POST). 

"Maybe zose Warner Archive Folks are not so bad, after all!"

I ordered a copy as soon as I was able to sit in front of my computer.  And, if you wish to see more classic Hanna-Barbera releases from The Warner Archive Collection, I’d suggest you do the same. 


HERE is the story from tvshowsondvd.com.  And HERE is the link to Warner Archives. 

Do YOURSELF a “good deed” and enjoy some LOOPY De LOOP!  


joecab said...

Wow, this was a surprise to me as well. With the market for this kind of thing shrinking (unfortunately it's mainly we fans buying these) as well as DVD sales decreasing, I didn't think they'd come out with any more new titles. My only wish is to get them digitally and in HD. (So far only big series like the Flintstones, the Jetsons, and Scooby-Doo have popped up on iTunes, but none of them are in HD.)

And yes, I too learned of these cartoons via Of Mice and Magic. That book was a big reason I went from someone who just liked cartoons to a capital F Fan.

Joe Torcivia said...


As I’ve said elsewhere, this is exactly what The Warner Archive Collection was created for!

You probably know, from reading this Blog, that I’m a huge fan of “Old Warner Bros. Movies”. Warner Bros. was my favorite movie studio, and their films of the ‘30s and ‘40s are, in my opinion, superb! Yet, The Warner Archive Collection routinely releases “Old Warner Bros. Movies” that even *I* would never dream of purchasing. Too many of them, in fact!

…But, others clearly do purchase them, and that’s the beauty of a MOD (“Manufactured On Demand”) operation, especially when it comes to niche product.

I’d never expect to see a Loopy De Loop set on the shelves at Best Buy! Hell, they don’t even carry all the Looney Tunes releases, anymore, but here is The Warner Archive Collection with Loopy De Loop, and I couldn’t be happier about it.

But, WAC should have been giving us this stuff in far greater quantities than it has. If I’m not mistaken, this is the FIRST pre-1966 Hanna-Barbera release to come from WAC! Prior to this, the earliest H-B product under the Warner Archive label would be SPACE KIDETTES and FRANKENSTEIN JR AND THE IMPOSSIBLES! Yet, I’m sure most fans agree that H-B’s best material was pre-1966.

I hope Loopy De Loop sells well, because all the rest of those pre-1966 H-B shows that we want may hinge on that!

And that’s one reason why I did not hesitate. Did not wait for a price reduction. Did not wait for other things to bundle with it, in order to get free shipping. Did not wait for ANYTHING!

Sure, I want this DVD – but I also want to send a message to Warner that pre-1966 Hanna-Barbera series still have an audience. I hope everyone who reads this, and has any interest in classic H-B, will do the same!

Maybe then, we’ll even get Black and White Looney Tunes! …Another thing that supposedly does not sell! …Don’t get me started on THAT!

Finally, even after all these years, “Of Mice and Magic” remains my primary source for theatrical animation info! It is one INCREDIBLE book that has stood the test of time, and the onslaught of the Internet!

top_cat_james said...

So if my calculations are correct, this is the "classic era" H-B programming we're still lacking on DVD:

*Seasons two, three, and four of The Huckleberry Hound Show
*The complete series of The Quick Draw McGraw Show
*The Wally Gator/Touche Turtle/Lippy the Lion shorts
*The Peter Potamus Show
*The Atom Ant/Secret Squirrel Show

And then we have what I dub "The Cold Day in Hell Collection", due to myriad rights issues and other matters:

*Abbott and Costello
*Laurel and Hardy
*The Fantastic Four
*Sinbad Jr. and His Magic Belt

I am getting the Loopy set, and I would jump at the chance to purchase the above series mentioned.I'd also like to add, just in case any of the WA research and development folks are perusing this blog, that some of your customers might like the opportunity to purchase a Cattanooga Cats series collection. Hintity hint hint...

Joe Torcivia said...

Add, RUFF AND REDDY to that, TCJ, and we’ve got a deal! Can anyone add something else to that list?

Even if music clearance is the major roadblock some people seem to say it is (yet, I’ve heard some of that same music on DVDs of shows as varied as LEAVE IT TO BEAVER, THE UNTOUCHABLES, and NAKED CITY – not to mention some of the Warner Bros. cartoons that used it during a musicians strike), there has never been a reason that MOD releases of the last season of Huck and Quick Draw (with all of Hokey Wolf), along with ALL of Wally/Touché/Lippy, Potamus, Ant, and Squirrel could not be released.

And, again, if Black and White Looney Tunes won’t sell to a mass-market, Warner Archives is the great big honking opportunity to release them chronologically, starting with Bosko and progressing forward with annual releases!

Same for early MGM cartoons, the non-Droopy Tex Avery shorts, and the Gene Deitch Tom and Jerrys.

Finally, Hell did have at least *one* cold day, when a single Abbott and Costello was included on that “Best of Warner Bros. Hanna-Barbera Collection”, so ya never know.

Joe Torcivia said...

Another funny thing just occurred to me…

If we ever DO get DVD sets of some of the H-B series TCJ mentioned above (…and assuming music clearance actually IS why we haven’t gotten pre-1961 Huck, Quick Draw, etc.), one reason that we COULD get these post-1960 series would be because the theatrical nature and budgets of the Loopy De Loop series allowed for Hoyt Curtin to compose original scores for the Loopys, starting in 1959.

And, in 1959, Loopy De Loop would have had the first original scores of any Hanna-Barbera cartoons – even before THE FLINTSTONES!

Those scores, along with other original music composed for the presumably higher-budgeted-for-prime-time FLINTSTONES, TOP CAT, and JETSONS, would form the basis for all subsequent H-B TV cartoon music scores that followed.

…So, perhaps Loopy has done us all a “good deed”, without knowing it!

scarecrow33 said...

On the plus side, the Loopy cartoons are made with the same art and craftsmanship that went into the TV shorts, so that they definitely have the look and "feel" of Hanna-Barbera. And you certainly can't go wrong with Daws Butler as the primary voice, supported by Don Messick and the other vocal actors who worked for H-B. So what if the cartoons are a bit repetitive, variations on a theme? Loopy de Loop may not have the charisma of Yogi Bear or the laid back good nature of Huckleberry Hound, but taken on their own terms, his cartoons are pretty decent. I personally find them clever, funny, and engaging--not the best that H-B ever produced, but far from the worst.

If this release can pave the way for more of the above-mentioned, then more power to it! I would add to the list the live-action/animated series The New Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, as well as Where's Huddles and the second season of Wait Till Your Father Gets Home. I think there's still some unreleased Johnny Quest stuff, too. And when is The New Alice in Wonderland going to turn up? Or the Gene Kelly special of Jack and the Beanstalk? Those two would make a great pairing for a double set!

Joe Torcivia said...


I completely agree with your assessment of Loopy, and the talents that went into making his cartoons. Anyone looking to slap the “repetitive” label on a “furry Frenchy” animated character should look at Pepe Le Pew, before considering Loopy! Funny how that label never sticks to Pepe. Maybe no one can get close enough to pin it on him!

I like your suggestions, particularly WHERE’S HUDDLES! That would make a nice short package, and I remember liking it, during the summer of 1970 – the same summer that introduced Charlton Hanna-Barbera comics! (Shudder!) Now that I’ve grown fond of THE ROMAN HOLIDAYS, I’m rather in the mood to revisit WHERE’S HUDDLES!

But, what’s REALLY special about a Loopy De Loop release is that it’s the FIRST Warner Archives release from the classic, pre-1966 era of Hanna-Barbera. And, I’d want the rest of the shows from THAT period, before I’d want anything else!

Hopefully, Loopy can influence the release of a few additional such series.

Comicbookrehab said...

Ironic that you mentioned Pepe let Pew, Joe, since I'm convinced Loopy was HB's attempt at capitalizing on things in pop culture conciousness.

I've seen 3 Loopy cartoons in the past - 2 of them were bundled in a videotape compilation called "Big Screen Sweethearts" and the third was on Cartoon Network - his personality falls somewhere between Huckleberry Hound and Snagglepuss, but without any catchphrases or hooks beyond the "doing good deeds" deal. Maybe Bill & Joe were experimenting with a character whose stories didn't follow a formula, so in that sense, you could argue that he's the closest thing to an irreverent and postmodern character made during the studio's best years.

joecab said...

Not related at all: Joe, have you heard of this? http://cartoonatics.blogspot.com/2014/09/freak-con-2015-20th-anniversary-of.html

rodineisilveira said...

The Loopy de Loop shorts were frequently brodcasted in the Brazilian TV, during the 70s and 80s.
Some years later, these same shorts returned to being aired in Brazil, via Cartoon Network and Boomerang (when this channel broadcasted the classical cartoons until 2006).

Joe Torcivia said...


That’s a good character analysis of Loopy. “Between Huckleberry Hound and Snagglepuss”!

Apply Huck’s determination and resiliency to doing good deeds, despite being continually clobbered for his troubles, and add Snag’s “charm” and gentlemanly persona, and you pretty much have Loopy. Add Pepe Le Pew’s accent, of course.

Another reason I mentioned Pepe Le Pew is that, some time ago – and I wish I could cite where, I said that Pepe could have been funnier and less annoyingly repetitive if his cartoons were more like Loopy De Loop! Imagine Pepe forcing himself on unwitting victims to do good deeds, be a good Samaritan, etc., all the while being oblivious to his overpowering odor.

I think that would be both funny – and more varied – than always pursuing a black cat with a miraculously contrived false white strip down her back!

Joe Torcivia said...


Imagine that! A Freakazoid! Convention!

Just my luck, it’s on the opposite (and diagonal) end of the country from me!

Aw, nut-bunnies! Cosgrove will never ask ME, if I want to go to a Freakazoid! Convention! …And, I’ll never get to enthusiastically reply: “DO I!”

If I can’t go, maybe THIS GUY will!

And, HERE’S the link to it, for easier access.

Joe Torcivia said...


I never saw any of the Loopy cartoons, at any time in my life, except the brief time in the late ‘80s when they were shown on USA Network’s “Cartoon Express”. Previously, “Cartoon Express” had shown THE HUCKLEBERRY HOUND SHOW, the way it was originally broadcast – with Huck, Pixie and Dixie, and Yogi Bear cartoons, one each making up the show.

Oddly, the “Huck version of Cartoon Express” began with the 1961 YOGI BEAR SHOW opening, and ended with the 1965 HUCKLEBERRY HOUND SHOW closing – the one without the Kellogg’s characters, and Yakky Doodle, Chopper, Hokey Wolf, and Ding-a-Ling in their place! With Yakky getting conked by the top of the circus tent exit, instead of Tony the Tiger Jr.

But “Cartoon Express” was the only place I ever saw Loopy, save one cartoon on THIS DVD SET. And soon I’ll be able to see them all, once again!

Comicbookrehab said...

I agree about Pepe - I like the character, but his funniest cartoons were the first two Jones directed, just before "For Scent-mental Reasons" won the Oscar and defined the plotless chase formula that set the pace for the rest of the series. It would've been nice if the retroactively named "Penelope" had a speaking role in the cartoons, either by June Foray or Bea Benedaret, but it would've changed what we saw a lot, I suppose...

Btw, is "Odor of The Day" considered a Pepe let Pew cartoon?

Joe Torcivia said...


“Odor of the Day” is included on the “Looney Tunes Super Stars Pepe Le Pew” DVD collection, so I’d imagine that Warner Bros. considers it a Pepe Le Pew cartoon.

I always did, too, even if it was outside the formula. And I sure wish there had been more like that one.

I also wish there had been more “Looney Tunes Super Stars” collections! That series appears to have ended with the “Sylvester and Hippity Hopper” set from April 2013. Too bad, as it did a fine job in presenting many of the later and lesser-known cartoons.

Joe Torcivia said...


Just watched the first four cartoons on the Loopy De Loop set and, as expected, they were great fun from Hanna-Barbera’s prime period.

Two were written by Michael Maltese, and two were written by Warren Foster! Voices were performed by Daws Butler, June Foray, Jean Vander Pyl, Paul Frees and Don Messick. Great writers meet great voices!

And Hoyt Curtin premieres many of the underscore pieces that would become staples of H-B series for years to come!

The Quick Draw McGraw theme even sneaks its way into one of the cartoons, as a musical piece played by Loopy!

One demerit. There is no listing of the cartoon titles anywhere except on the discs themselves. But, certainly for those first four, this is great stuff! Very glad I got this set!

scarecrow33 said...

Just received word from Warner Archives that my copy is on its way. Can't wait to get better acquainted with "ze good wolf."

Noticed a few other goodies while I was browsing their site. Had we but world enough, and time... (and money?)...

Joe Torcivia said...

…Had we indeed, Scarecrow! Had we indeed!

I *know* that you will enjoy Loopy!