A voyage aboard the animated vinyl seas with Sinbad, Salty the parrot sidekick, a pirate or two and an H-B story and layout artist who also has an acting role.
TREASURE ISLAND STARRING SINBAD, JR.
Presented By Hanna-Barbera
Hanna-Barbera Records Cartoon Series HLP-2042 (12” 33 1/3 RPM / Mono / 1965)
45 RPM Condensed Version CS-7020 (1965) / Songs Version CS-7050 (1965)
Executive Producers: William Hanna, Joseph Barbera. Producer/Writer/Director: Charles Shows. Music: Hoyt Curtin, Ted Nichols. Song Arrangements: Al Capps, Stan Farber. Editor: Tony Milch. Engineer: Richard Olson. Mastering: Dave Diller, Joe Leahy. Hand Lettering: Robert Schaefer. Cover Art: Fernando Montealegre. Running Time: 35 minutes.
Voices: Tim Matheson (Sinbad, Jr.); Mel Blanc (Salty); Warren Tufts (Pegleg, Narrator); Ted Cassidy (Red Beard); Stan Farber, Al Capps, Ron Hicklin (The Hanna-Barbera Singers).
Songs: “Sinbad,” “Treasure Island,” “Red Beard,” “Jolly Roger” by Stan Farber and Charles & Peggy Shows.
One of the few “serious” HBR Cartoon Series LPs, this one has several other elements that set it apart from its sister records. One is the rare vinyl presence of Ted Cassidy, whom Hanna-Barbera kept busy doing TV villain voices at the time, and story/layout artist and cartoonist Warren Tufts. Tufts is also the only person in the album series who worked on both an HBR LP cover and the record inside!
Tufts, whose voice is a cross between Hal Smith and Mike Road, dabbled in acting on and off camera, heard in many of Cambria’s New Three Stooges cartoons and in the lead role of Captain Fathom. The art (which Tufts created with Harvard Pennington, adds dimension to the look of Sinbad and Salty, but takes a few steps away from the typical H-B house style for Pegleg and especially Red Beard.
The album’s story has little at all to do with Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island except that Pegleg is a Ben Gunn-like character; there are pirates and an island with a treasure. Red Beard replaces Long John Silver and the island is named Skull. Unlike Jonny Quest in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea or Robin Hood Starring Top Cat, the story does not begin with a character reading the book that relates to their adventures.
Mel Blanc created a Porky/Bugs-ish sound for Salty, whose story purpose is to comment on the action and remind Sinbad to use his belt. Tim Matheson, who would have a very prominent TV and movie career as an teen (Yours, Mine and Ours) and an adult (Animal House, 1941), was directed to repeat his Jonny Quest voice, not even varying his voice much when he becomes stronger, as Bud Collyer did with Clark Kent/Superman and John Erwin did with Prince Adam/He-Man.
The background music is also unusual for most HBR LPs, including the nautical themes that would be very familiar to fans of the Hanna-Barbera cartoons of the mid- to late ’60s. The songs also venture a bit from the usual HBR surf/garage pop into calypso and sea shanty.
Another unusual feature of the record is the copyright on the front cover: it’s not Hanna-Barbera Productions, but American International Pictures. The independent film and TV company, specializing in beach party/horror flicks, ventured into animation with such series as 1966’s Miami-dubbed Prince Planet (which boasted a theme song by Annette songwriters Guy Hemric and Gary Styner). There are cartoons in the syndicated series produced by Hanna-Barbera and also by Sam Singer Productions, with different voices and music. In both versions, Sinbad Jr. has a magic belt that gives him super strength. (In at least one book, Sinbad, Jr. is reported to have been inserted into Format Films’ The Alvin Show syndicated series package.)
The infamous Mr. Singer (whom Jerry Beck has dubbed “The Ed Wood of Animation”) previously produced such TV cartoon masterpieces as Bucky and Pepito, Paddy Pelican, Pow Wow The Indian Boy – and his best known series, Courageous Cat and Minute Mouse. Singer’s studio commenced production on Sinbad Jr. for American International. When it became obvious he couldn’t handle the demands of the schedule (or, as some have surmised, he either squandered the budget or, more likely, delivered substandard product) Hanna Barbera were quickly handed the reigns. (This would not be Hanna Barbera’s only sub-contract work during the 1960s – Larry Harmon’s Laurel and Hardy was another). Don Yowp has more about Sinbad Jr. here.
Perhaps its erratic production history explains this album’s unique qualities — or simply adds to its mystery. We may never know, but the existing album is certainly a curious addition to HBR Records storied legacy.
GIVE A LITTLE LISTEN
“Sinbad Loses His Magic Belt”
The action-packed conclusion to the story finds Sinbad losing his belt to Red Beard and then of course, regaining it. In addition to the “Treasure Island” song that closes the album, the title song (which is different than the TV theme) is also included. Note that the lyric about making “the vilest villain cower” is identical to what Ted Cassidy talk-sings in H-B’s Atom Ant theme.