There seems to be no end to finding new information on classic cartoons – things I’ve never seen or heard of seem to pop up every day on blogs (I’m looking’ at you, Yowp), Facebook, Instagram, etc.
I have a pile of miscellaneous production clippings – reviews, press releases and raw data – that I’d like to put out there, for no other reason other than its just interesting, or its another piece in the jigsaw puzzle of animation history. I think you’ll find my new Monday Miscellaneous posts a great way to start the week.
First up from the archives at the USC Cinematic Library: Network Status Reports. These internal memos date from 1956 to 1964 – I believe these are from the files of CBS (regardless of what network the shows eventually appeared on, all three networks kept track of all pilots and competing shows in production or preparation) – any additional information on these documents or the shows discussed is welcome.
UPDATE: Eric Costello (in the comments below) makes the case that these memos could be from the J. Walter Thompson advertising agency.
By the 1960s Hanna Barbera dominated television with many many shows on the air, network or syndicated; Saturday morning and prime time. And of course we know they developed and pitched probably three times as many shows that never made it. What did the network execs think of the Hanna Barbera product? Let’s take a look:
Apparently the execs at CBS weren’t very excited about The Flintstones: “…failed both in story content and its promise of pre-historic elements>’ and noted the show was a “…a take-off of “The Honeymooners”. Yabba-dabba-doo, these guys just didn’t get it.
TOP CAT & THE JETSONS
In case you didn’t know: Top Cat was co-sponsored by Kelloggs right off the bat – and The Jetsons was replaced by Leave It To Beaver. (click to enlarge)
Unsold Hanna Barbera Pilots
Hanna Barbera was certainly ready to follow up on Jonny Quest with a different, perhaps more adult cartoon show with Danger Plus Two. Beyond the Doug Wildey storyboard below I know nothing about this show. I know even less about 5-4-3-2-1 Pfft – which was to star Rowan & Martin (before Laugh-In). Was it live action or animated… or a combination?
Fractured Flickers (syndicated 1963)
I believe this note refers to Jay Ward’s Fractured Flickers
The Nut House (CBS, 1964)
This infamous live action show (with some animation), was a bit ahead of its time – a precursor to Laugh-In. It was taped on 11/27/63 – the day of JFK’s funeral.
MISC: UPA – CALVIN – WARNER BROS – DAVE FLEISCHER
The Boing Boing Show
There is much still to be written (and researched) about The Boing Boing Show – the first network half-hour animated series.
Calvin And The Colonel
Here we learn that the original title for Calvin & The Colonel was “The Animals”.
Shot in October 1961… the pilot got an “unfavorable reaction” at a February 1962 screening. It was eventually released theatrically, as a featurette, on April 6th 1963.
Mr. Hugger-Mugger – Dave Fleischer
And finally, Mr. Hugger Mugger – I know nothing about this beyond what is reported here. Dave Fleischer created it in 1960 for Universal. A ten-minute pilot was produced and shown in November. Years before Jonny Quest, it was to be an adventure cartoon half hour “in which the title character has (a) computer brain which he operated with a push-button in his hat.” By April 1961 the project was “dead”.
Thanks to Ned Comstock, Senior Librarian at USC’s Cinematic Arts Library, for providing these to Cartoon Research.